Those who donated blood during the most recent Media Day Blood Drive received letters of apology from the American Red Cross for delays in service.
The day-long drive, held annually at WesBanco Arena in January, is the Greater Alleghenies Blood Region's largest drive of the year. It is meant to bolster the ARC's blood stores during a time of year when many people don't want to brave the weather to donate.
During the drive, spokeswoman Cheryl Gergely said workers experienced a surge in donors. That coupled with not as many pre-scheduled donors, she said, caused some people to wait longer than usual. Some decided to leave the building before donating because they got tired of waiting.
"Although we welcome walk-in blood donors, and work them in between those who have appointments, unplanned surges at various times of the day do upset our ability to process donors in a timely manner. In addition, once a backup occurs, and then more unexpected surges happen, the effect becomes cumulative," Gergely said.
"Unfortunately, at this blood drive, we were unable to deliver the service our blood donors expect and deserve from the Red Cross. Some who waited were upset, but there were many who were understanding and fortunately very patient. We appreciate everyone who came in that day; the people of Wheeling have always been supportive of the American Red Cross and we recognize that they take time from their busy schedules to donate blood. We learned some lessons at this blood drive which will help us to continue to plan for more efficient service in the future," she added.