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College Honored by Red Cross for Blood-Drive Efforts

From left, are Carl L. Shaner, Student Health Services director%3B Gwendolyn B. Feese, Student Health Services staff member%3B and Donald R. Fipps, chief executive officer of American Red Cross Blood Services, Northeastern Pennsylvania Region

Representatives of Penn College Health Services traveled to Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, Feb. 23, to accept a 2004 “Sponsor of the Year” award from the American Red Cross Blood Services, Northeastern Pennsylvania Region. Penn College was one of only nine honored that day from among 1,200 Red Cross sponsors.

Red Cross officials noted that the region’s highest one-day collection total was at Penn College 179 pints. They also remarked that, in response to their request for help with the current shortage, the College doubled the number of on-campus blood drives for the 2004-05 academic year.

Penn College was among nine sponsors honored in three categories: Community, Business and College/University. Awards were based on nominations from the 24 chapters in the area, according to Donald R. Fipps, chief executive officer of American Red Cross Blood Services, Northeastern Pennsylvania Region.

“Being a sponsor is no small task,” explained Fipps, noting the coordination required among the Red Cross chapter, donor-recruitment personnel, canteen support “and, most importantly, the friends, family, co-workers, employees, customers and neighbors” who donateduring Bloodmobile visits.

Student Health Services believes its award “belongs to all of the staff, faculty and students who donate their time to help or roll up their sleeves and give blood.”

The Northeastern Pennsylvania Region runs about 1,400 blood drives a year in 21 counties, traveling as far south as Harrisburg; west to Tioga and Clinton counties; east to Wayne and Pike counties, Carbon and Schuylkill; and even into two counties in New York state to support 35 area hospitals.

Only 6 percent of potential donors give blood, Fipps said, making it difficult to keep a steady supply in reserve. The region’s goal is to have a seven-day supply on the shelf, but currently is below a three-day supply on most blood types below a day on many Rh negatives.

The collective challenge is to increase the frequency of current donations (the average donor donates 1.6 times a year) and bring in first-time donors. Want to help? The next blood drive at Penn College will be from 9:45 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 23.

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