Our Lady of the Eucharist, Geisinger to host blood drive in Pittston Aug. 2

By Matt Mattei - For Sunday Dispatch | July 25th, 2015 5:01 pm

A blood drive will be held between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2 at the Our Lady of the Eucharist parish hall, 535 N. Main St., Pittston.

Volunteers from the parish will team with medical professionals from the Geisinger Blood Center to process and aid donors on the day of the event.

The blood center, which was established in 2012 as part of the Geisinger Health System, operates with the objective of collecting blood for use in that system.

Payal Patel, a spokesperson for the blood center, said that a steady supply of blood is needed in the community for trauma patients, cancer patients and others who need transfusions locally.

“All the blood products that Geisinger collects … (are) distributed right back into the community through the Geisinger Health System,” said Patel. “That’s how we’re meeting that local need.”

To meet that need, the blood center has to conduct weekly drives and receive about 2,000 donors every month.

When national nonprofit organizations hold blood drives in the Wyoming Valley, there is no guarantee that the blood harvested will aid local people.

“We want to keep that blood local and we want to help meet the needs of those patients that are at the Geisinger Health System hospital,” said Patel.

The Our Lady of Eucharist Parish will partner with the blood center in encouraging people to donate blood and offer a life line to others, and both organizations are hopeful that awareness of the blood center’s community-driven goals will motivate people to donate.

Steven Magdalinski is an account manager for the blood center and a resident of Jenkins Township, and he personally reached out to the church to organize the drive in hope of generating interest in his local community.

Patel stressed the significant role of local businesses and organizations in partnering with the blood center to host events. “Involvement such as that is a really great and important community service,” she said. “People like the church, their helping us, making that impact in the community.”

Blood that is donated at these drives can save local lives, improve the quality of life for residents who need it, and even come to the aid of people who are badly injured while in Pennsylvania, as was the case with Sharon Budd, the Ohio teacher who was injured by a rock thrown off an overpass on I-80. According to Patel, Budd received many units of blood, much of which was collected by the blood center, while being cared for in the Geisinger Health System.

To schedule an appointment for the drive on Aug. 2, prospective donors can visit geisingerbloodcenter.org and select “Schedule an Appointment” in the “Blood Donor” menu, or they can make an appointment by phone by calling 866-996-5100.

All walk-ins are also welcome to show up and donate.

By Matt Mattei

For Sunday Dispatch

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