Blood Buddies

Wawa joins Red Cross high school event

Published in CSP Daily News

PHILADELPHIA -- Wawa Inc. and the American Red Cross are teaming up for the 8th Annual All High School event, which will be held on Thursday, October 20, at the American Red Cross Musser Donor Center in Philadelphia.

Wawa has hosted blood drives at its corporate offices for almost four decades. In addition, for the past three years, blood drives are held at regional offices, training centers and stores throughout the company's five-state operating area.

In 2004, Wawa's blood drives resulted in more than 2,000 donations making [image-nocss] Wawa an important contributor to annual blood drive efforts. This year, Wawa is well on its way to surpassing its goal of collecting more than 1,500 pints of blood. Harry McHugh, senior vice president of operations, said, "one of Wawa's founding principles is to be a good neighbor. It's what guides us to partner with the American Red Cross and their blood drive efforts. Wawa has always been a leader in the convenience store industry and we want to encourage high school students to take on a leadership role in their community by organizing blood drives. Together, we can save lives.

Students at 60 high schools will lead efforts to collect more than 10% of all blood donations made locally this year. More than 450 Pennsylvania and New Jersey high school students who have recruited blood donors and organized blood drives at their schools will be recognized for saving tens of thousands of lives in the past year. "The day will bring fun, entertainment and education to the students," said John Hagins, senior director of donor services.

The day begins at 7:00 a.m. when the students arrive at the center, play interactive games and enjoy activities. They are also offered the opportunity to get their picture with Buddy the Blood Drop, sing with Q 102 and meet the WB frog. "The Program will include motivational messaging about blood and blood donation, audience participation through a unique dating game' and youth-oriented patient stories as well as other engaging content," said Hagins.

Hundreds of student volunteers who organize their high school blood drives gather for this motivational and educational event. While leading the high school blood drives, the students also go on to learn lessons in leadership, organizational skills and public service.

Most healthy people who are at least 17 years old and weigh 110 pounds or more are eligible to donate every 56 days. Donors can give blood at any one of nearly 200 bloodmobiles sponsored by business and community groups in southeastern Pennsylvania and in New Jersey weekly, or at one of nine community donor centers.

To make an immediate appointment for an American Red Cross blood drive, call 800-GIVE LIFE (800-448-3543), or visit www.pleasegiveblood.org to find a listing of community blood drives.