MOUNT CARMEL — The Wabash County Health Department hosted a record-setting blood drive Thursday at First Baptist Church in Mount Carmel.
The event yielded 37 vials of blood, a new record for such events.
The event was held in conjunction with the American Red Cross, which hosts many blood drives in Mount Carmel throughout the year. The Wabash County Health Department helps with two of those blood drives each year, one in January and one in June. Each time, Health Department personnel try to come up with an extra incentive to bring people in to the event.
“We try to make it a little more interesting than just going in and donating blood,” said Health Department Director Judy Wissel.
This time, there was a raffle for one of two entertainment packages. One was a dinner for two at The Red Geranium in New Harmony, Indiana, and the other was for a stay at Evansville’s Tropicana Hotel and Casino.
An additional incentive for donors was the assortment of snacks available at the drive.
“There’s always a bunch of homemade goodies,” Wissel said.
Some of the reason for the extra incentive was to combat a common theme among first-time blood donors, nervousness.
“If you haven’t ever donated before, it can be a little intimidating,” Wissel said.
The American Red Cross staff are used to it and have a knack for putting people at ease, Wissel explained.
One such first-time donor was Mariah Barber, AOK Network coordinator at the Health Department.
“It was like having blood drawn,” Barber recalled, “it was not a big deal.”
Barber said she thinks the reason for the apprehension could be attributed to the general fear of the unknown.
“I think they just don’t know what to expect,” she said.
Barber added that she would do it again if the opportunity arose.
In addition to the 37 blood draws were three “power reds,” which comprise not only a blood draw but fluid returning to the donor. This procedure requires a donor’s height and weight to fall within certain parameters.
Wissel said there is generally a shortage of blood in the winter and that the American Red Cross is looking for all blood types.
The next American Red Cross blood drive will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at Evangelical United Methodist Church in the Fellowship Hall.