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Red Cross holds blood drive before Relay for Life

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

The annual Relay for Life Blood Drive is being held on Friday from 1 to 7 p.m. in the gymnasium at James Wood High School.

The American Red Cross is putting on the drive, and it is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Winchester. The Red Cross will donate $2 to the American Cancer Society on behalf of ever presenting blood donor. Additionally, all donors will be entered to win one of two $20 Buffalo Wild Wings gift certificates.

Refreshments also will be provided from multiple vendors, including Union Jacks Restaurant and Pub and Texas Steakhouse.

Edgar C. "Bud" Good Jr. is part of the Winchester Kiwanis Club, but he's also a Red Cross retiree. For 26 years he was involved with communications at the American Red Cross headquarters.

Good has been the coordinator for this particular blood drive for the past five years.

"People often wonder why you would raise blood in concert with a cancer event," he said. "But blood is doggone important when it come to the treatment of cancer."

Both of Good's parents died from cancer, but he said they were treated with blood products during the course of their therapy. One of the first times he gave blood was for his great aunt who was also a cancer patient.

"I started giving blood periodically for her, and it took with me," he said. "It is something I've grown to believe in."

The drive has a goal to collect at least 85 units of blood.

Marianne Spampinato, the regional communications manager for the Red Cross, said that a single unit of blood could be used to help up to three people after it has gone through specific processes that lends it to different types of blood products.

"One good thing about the process is that patients only get those parts of the donated blood that are necessary," she said.

Also, one in every five blood products goes to people with cancer, she said, which may surprise those who assume it mostly goes to accident victims.

Spampinato acknowledged the recent surge in blood drives run by Virginia Blood Services.

"The competition is not new, but the important thing is always to give blood," she said. "The Red Cross still supports close to 60 hospitals in Virginia."

After having worked for the Red Cross for as many years as he did, Good has come to realize what really matters when donating blood.

"At the end of the day, it goes wherever it's needed," he said.

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