OCEAN CITY – Community members turned out to save lives this week as 642 people turned out for this week’s annual blood drive in the resort.
The Blood Bank of Delmarva returned to Ocean City this week for the 14th Annual Beach Blanket Blood Drive.
This year’s event was themed around “OC Saves!”, recognizing the thousands of units of blood that has been donated during the past 14 years.
“We try to push the importance of people donating and giving blood and that donation can save up to three lives because of the products we can pull out of it,” Blood Bank of Delmarva Director of Marketing and Community Relations Michael Waite said. “So when you say ‘OC Saves’ the people who come participate in this blood drive will be saving lives, there is no doubt about it.”
According to Waite, the annual event started out with 207 blood donations and last year reached its record of 666 blood donations.
“We want to make this a pleasant experience,” he said. “We don’t want them coming in and having to wait for long periods of time. People’s time is valuable and we appreciate the fact that they have come here to donate to begin with.”
Waite said that 65 percent of the population is unable to donate blood and out of the 35 percent who are capable only 5 percent do, making blood drives critical since it takes 350 donations a day to supply the need of Delmarva.
Blood donations can be used in surgery, emergency situations, chemotherapy and even during complications of child birth.
“No, were not asking you to write a check but we are asking you to come in, give up your time, and literally give up a piece of yourself,” he said.
Melanie Konoski says she gives blood at least once a year and has been since she started her work with the Lifesaver Program 26 years ago.
“It is the easiest way to do my civic duty … and I like the cookies,” she said.
Lori Arillo said she always attends the Beach Blanket Blood Drive.
“It is a good cause, brownie points into heaven, and I have O positive and that’s one of the most useful [types] so I figure why not,” she said.
Laurie Raines has been giving blood at the Beach Blanket Blood Drive since 2001 and said she donates “because of all the good it does for everybody.”
Earl Peters said he has been donating blood for almost 60 years and started during his service in the Army.
“It helps people,” he said. “That is the main thing.”
For those who could not attend this week, the Blood Bank of Delmarva will return to Ocean City this year for another blood drive at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on March 29.