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Blood battle set for Broad Street

Due to the current need for O negative and B negative type blood donations in the Selma area and across the country, the Red Cross will hold the Broad Street “Store Wars” Blood Drive in the American Red Cross Bloodmobile outside of the Welcome Center on Broad Street on Tuesday, Jan. 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Always after the holidays we have a tough time,” said Ivy Pittman, blood services account manager with the Red Cross. “The region as a whole is in need of O negative and B negative.”

Instead of holding a traditional blood drive, Ms. Pittman wanted to add something different to the drive to get people out to donate.

Beginning the event last year, Ms. Pittman thought that if the element of competition, complete with certificates of participation and a trophy, were involved, more people might want to join in on the fun and donate blood. Ms. Pittman hopes this event will become annual.

Participating stores and organizations are Brown Drug Co., Carter’s Books & Gifts, Pilcher-McBryde Drug Company, Swift Drug Company, the city of Selma, and Truax & Company. Each hour door prizes will also be awarded to names drawn from people who have donated blood, as well as drawing for a $1000 gift card in American Red Cross Quarterly Give Away plus every donor will receive an American Red Cross T-shirt.

Participating stores donated prizes for the event.

Pilcher-McBryde chose to participate after Red Cross representatives approached the store with the idea.

“That was just their idea and we chose to participate,” said Jim Creech, one of the owners of the store.

All employees of Pilcher-McBryde will be eligible for half a day off from work if they donate blood with the event.

“It’s so we can have a friendly competition,” Mr. Creech said.

He teasingly said many of the employees are not fond of needles, so he may not have to offer too many days off from work. They are also encouraging people who seem interested in the event to donate in support of the store.

Prior to donating, participants will be asked to write down the name of the store they want their donation to support. Donors should also be sure to have a license or Red Cross donor card, be 17 or older, or 16 with parental consent, weight more than 110 pounds and be in good health.

For those nervous about donating blood for the first time, Ms. Pittman encourages people to think about the people who need the blood donations.

“It’s totally safe,” Ms. Pittman said. “You do have a quick pinch, but that lasts for five seconds. Your one donation can save up to three lives.”

Ms. Pittman also encourages people to call ahead and make an appointment to donate on Tuesday.

Appointments will be taken before walk-ins. Ms. Pittman also said that depending on the amount of appointments, the Bloodmobile will have enough staffing to keep waiting times short, but they cannot properly estimate unless they know ahead of time.

To schedule an appointment, visit www.givelife.org and enter the sponsor code 1790, or enter in a ZIP code.

The next blood drives in the area will be on Jan. 21 at Easter Seals at 2906 Citizen’s Parkway from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Jan. 22 at Lighthouse Rehabilitation at 2911 Earl Goodwin Parkway from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Jan. 27 at Selma High School from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The blood drive at Selma High School is not open to the public.