03/17/13 — Banks answer call for Red Cross blood challenge

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Banks answer call for Red Cross blood challenge

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on March 17, 2013 1:50 AM

Wayne County's financial institutions will roll up their sleeves and battle it out during the 10th annual American Red Cross Bank Blood Challenge.

The blood drive will be held Monday from 12:30 to 5 p.m. at the Red Cross chapter house, 600 N. George St., with a goal of 41 units.

"The challenge began when the Red Cross asked financial institutions here to come together and do a blood drive to see how many customers and employees would come out and donate blood to help people in our community and people who need blood," said Kate Daniels, Red Cross vice chairman and marketing and public relations manager with the North Carolina Community Federal Credit Union.

Chuck Waller, with business development at the credit union and a volunteer with the Red Cross, said that first event was held to create a friendly competition among Wayne County's financial institutions.

"And it was a rallying point to get folks to come donate blood," he said. "Blood is always needed, but only 3 percent of the population donates. Any creative way you can go out there and give folks a reason to come donate is always worthwhile."

Waller said the goal for the very first bank blood challenge was between 25 and 30 units and about that much was collected.

"An average of 40 to 50 people show up for the bank challenge, representing about seven or eight financial institutions," he said.

"I think there has been some competition over the years. It's always been fun. BB&T had the upper hand last year and won. The bank also won in 2005."

Other winners of the bank challenge include the North Carolina Community Federal Credit Union twice and KS Bank five times.

BB&T city executive Jimmie Edmundson noted that his bank has participated in the challenge since it began.

"I've always given blood and have been giving for as long as I've been able to give," he said. "I thought it was a good thing for us to do. I just thought it was the right thing to do to support the Red Cross."

He has personally benefited from the Red Cross' services when his grandmother died in 1968 and the Red Cross got word to him at Fort Jackson, S.C., where he was stationed with the military.

"Our employees support the bank blood challenge and feel good about what they're doing," Edmundson said. "I think they're very happy that their employer supports things like this. They get excited about it from that standpoint. I can't imagine why anybody wouldn't support the Red Cross."

BB&T's commercial lending relationship manager Julie Daniels also noted that the bank encourages community service.

"That's a piece of our mission," she said. "We want to make the places we live better places to be. We know this is such a worthwhile cause, and it doesn't take a lot of time."

Kate Daniels said that the process of giving blood takes about an hour, and each donor gets a free mini exam to make sure he or she is healthy enough to donate.

"That's just a few minutes of your time, and that blood donation can save up to three lives," she said. "With all the medical advances we're blessed with in today's world, we still cannot manufacture blood. We can only get it from humans."

Anybody can donate blood at the bank challenge. When a donor signs in, he or she will be asked which financial institution he or she is donating for.

To make an appointment for the blood drive, call the Red Cross at 919-735-7201. Walk-ins will also be taken.

Julie Daniels is challenging other financial institutions to pick up the pace.

"We want to win, and we're going to win this year," she said.