Anniston firefighters, county deputies hosting blood drives
by Madasyn Czebiniak
mczebiniak@annistonstar.com
Dec 19, 2013 | 2821 views |  0 comments | 102 102 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Anniston Fire Department and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office have teamed up with the American Red Cross to host two upcoming blood drives.

Red Cross workers will be at the Fire Department, at 225 E. 17th St., in their Bloodmobile from 7 a.m. to noon today, and at the Sheriff’s Office, at 400 W. Eighth St., from 8 a.m. to noon Monday.

Red Cross employees say blood donations typically fall during the holidays, and fire department Capt. Ray Thompson said the timing of today’s blood drive was good for both the Red Cross and for his agency. There’s a high demand for blood during the holidays, he said.

“You have a lot of travel accidents around the Christmas season and people needing it,” he said. “Anything we can do to help the community we’re all about.”

According to Thompson, today’s blood drive will also honor Thompson Nash Wagoner, a 1-year-old from Jacksonville undergoing treatment for retinoblastoma, a type of eye cancer, at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

“He’s this cool little dude,” Thompson said by phone Wednesday. “He’s always smiling.”

The captain said this will be the second blood drive the department has hosted in the 19 years he’s been there. During the first, which took place last year, 21 units of blood were donated; Thompson is hoping to donate at least 21 today.

“I would like to think we wouldn’t have a problem doing 28,” he said Tuesday night. “We’ve been running fliers on our Facebook page trying to get the word out.”

By Tuesday, 17 people had already signed up for appointments, he said.

Joe Jankoski, the community chapter executive with the Calhoun-Cleburne chapter of the American Red Cross, said donors are more likely to give blood if they already have an appointment scheduled.

Chief Deputy Matt Wade of the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office said Monday’s blood drive will be the third or fourth his agency has done this year, and during each one donors have given anywhere from 15 to 20 units.

“I truly believe in giving blood to the point it makes me ill,” he said, adding that he even gave blood on his birthday. “When somebody needs it they need it.”

Kevin Ried, a donation manager with the Red Cross’ blood services division, said anyone who hasn’t given blood in eight weeks is eligible to donate unless they are on antibiotics or have traveled out of the country recently. For more information on where to donate and learn about eligiblity visit the Red Cross’ blood donation website at http://www.redcrossblood.org/.

Staff writer Madasyn Czebiniak: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @MCzebiniak_Star.

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