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Small Blood Drive Happening Today in Martins Ferry

Pamala Chieffalo donates blood during one of First Presbyterian Church’s past blood drives in Martins Ferry.

MARTINS FERRY – To help fill a void in their own small way, members of First Presbyterian Church and the Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department are teaming up to host a blood drive today.

Pamala Chieffalo, church member, said the congregation usually holds just one blood drive per year for the American Red Cross. After the closing of East Ohio Regional Hospital in Martins Ferry and Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, however, they decided to do another one in 2019.

“OVMC did a blood drive once a month if not more,” Chieffalo said. “I started praying about what we could do as a church and the church started praying. Still, today, we are praying that we get our two hospitals back up and running. … The highest thing you can do is prayer. … God kept putting into my head to do another blood drive.”

The drive is set for noon to 5 p.m. today at the Martins Ferry Recreation Center on Fourth Street. Chieffalo said there are still plenty of appointments available, but walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment, call 800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org.

The goal for the drive is to collect 24 units of blood. A unit is equal to about a pint of blood. Red Cross officials have said in the past that just one pint of blood can save up to three lives.

The church plans to offer homemade soups — including chicken noodle and potato and broccoli soups — along with sandwiches and drinks such as hot chocolate to donors. The Red Cross also will have snacks and drinks at the canteen.

EORH stopped taking patients the night of Sept. 27. The facility’s owner, Alecto Healthcare Services Inc. of Irvine, California, still had a few long-term care patients remaining at the facility, but by Oct. 7 they had been transferred to other facilities. OVMC, also owned by Alecto, was shut down on Sept. 4.

Rumors have continued to circulate that one or two groups have been negotiating for the possible purchase of EORH. However, there have been no related announcements and no hospital officials will confirm those reports.

Daniel Dunmyer, president and CEO of EORH and OVMC, could not be reached for comment.

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