GIVING THE gift of life. That opportunity resurfaces on Monday, Jan. 23 as WesBanco Arena holds the 26th annual Ohio Valley Media Day Blood Drive.
The Wheeling mega-event is once again under the auspices of the American Red Cross.
This year's drive has a deep local significance. A Marshall County family -- all too familiar with blood donations and subsequent transfusions -- is the face of this year's blood drive.
Gabby Holtz, 6, is challenging area residents to help the cause on Jan. 23. She is battling a tissue cancer which requires ongoing blood transfusions.
Her father, Larry Holtz III, has a genetic enzyme deficiency which required transfusions during his youth. Gabby's grandfather, Larry Holtz Jr., is awaiting a double-lung transplant which will require large amounts of new blood.
It's safe to say the Holtz family is a prime example of the need and benefits of the annual Media Day Blood Drive in Wheeling.
The annual blood donor day at WesBanco will provide hundreds of others in-need individuals with hope of a normal and extended life. In the first 25 years of the event, more than 20,000 units of blood have been collected. That is a staggering amount which has obviously saved countless lives.
While that total is truly remarkable, it pales in comparison to the more than 38,000 donors needed daily to meet the blood demand in the U.S. That figure underlines the need for blood drives as well for the public to support them.
This year's goal at WesBanco is 600 productive donations. We see that as an attainable number, weather permitting. Some 800-850 potential donors are needed to make that total come to fruition.
We challenge and encourage all those in the Ohio Valley medically able to donate blood, to do so. The blood drive runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If unable to give blood, donate your time and expertise at the event itself. Volunteers are always needed.
Blood is a precious commodity, one that can prove a life-saver. On Jan. 23, we all can make a difference to individuals in dire straits.