Monday, January 21- Beach Blanket Blood Drive To Mark 10 Years

OCEAN CITY – The Blood Bank of Delmarva will host the 10th Annual Beach Blanket Blood Drive at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center next week on Jan. 29-30.

The drive, sponsored by the Coastal Association of Realtors and the Town of Ocean City, was established in 1997 to promote blood donation in the winter, a time when blood supplies traditionally dip as donors are kept away by cold and flu, bad weather and holiday travel. For a decade, the Coastal Association of Realtors has provided more than 1,150 volunteer man hours to staff the non-medical areas of the drive and the Town of Ocean City has donated the use of the convention center.

In its first year, the Beach Blanket Blood Drive registered fewer than 300 donors. Last year the drive registered more than 600 donors. The payoff in doubling participation at the event has been tremendous. So far, more than 2,500 pints of blood have been collected. This year the organization hopes to gather a record 700 donors during the two-day event.

“The Beach Blanket Blood Drive literally saves hundreds of live each winter and spring,” said AGH President and CEO Michael Franklin, honorary chairman of the 2008 drive. “This year the Blood Bank expects a remarkable response as people help us celebrate the special milestone. Event the closure of the Route 50 Bridge for renovation cannot deter us. The Blood Bank team stands ready to provide donors with alternative routes to the convention center and we are offering some terrific incentives for all those who make the trip.”

One of those incentives is a commemorative 10th anniversary long-sleeve T-shirt.

“Many donors have kept all of their shirts and tell me they are looking forward to adding this special 10th anniversary version to their collection,” said Suzanne Murray, Blood Bank of Delmarva account executive who helps coordinate the drive each year.

The whole donation process is simple and takes about an hour. It consists of a short medical interview, the actual blood donation, which takes about 5 minutes and a visit to the canteen for refreshments.

This year’s canteen features donuts, pizza, chips, baked goods, fresh fruit, candy, reading materials and beach music.

Hours for the two-day event are Wednesday, Jan. 29, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 30, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Anyone who would like to donate should call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8.

Remember to check out The Dispatch and its online partner on Friday for all the week’s news.

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