Locals turn out for holiday blood drive


Photos by Shawn Nowlin

Photo by Shawn Nowlin
Edith Uthoff donating blood.

A few weeks ago, Levi Cain was online when he came across a social media post that caught his attention.

“It mentioned a holiday blood drive taking place in the Care Advantage Inc. parking lot on December 29,” he said. “I figured it was a great way to give back to the community, so I decided to spread the word.”

The purpose of the drive was to help Virginia Blood Services (VBS) – the non-profit provider of blood to area hospitals – kick off 2018 with a healthy blood supply. “The number one reason people do not donate is that they have never been asked,” VBS Manager Wensday Tumulak said. “We need donors and organizations to host blood drives to ensure that there is an adequate supply in Southwest Virginia. It is very frustrating when a coordinator tells me someone canceled their appointment because Virginia Blood Services is for profit.”

Care Advantage Inc. employees (l-r): Staffing Supervisor Kristen Helvey, Administrator Samantha Easter and Homecare Specialist Rebecca Spaid.

Rebecca Spaid says she has been donating blood since 1988. “Everyone will likely need blood at some point in their life, or knows someone who does,” the Care Advantage Home Care Specialist said. “A little bit can help save the lives of several people. It truly is a painless gift of life.”

Whereas Rebecca has been donating blood for years, December 2017 was Cole Patton’s first time. “I’m all about making a difference in my community,” Cole said. “I just hope that my blood goes on to help people in need.”

Roanoke County resident Nate Hicks believes that those who have received a blood transfusion should tell their story to as many people as possible. “When someone has cancer, they fight for the cause and have fundraisers. They also sell shirts and tell people to get screened. When someone is a blood recipient, they rarely tell anyone,” he said. “By sharing stories and letting people know how important blood transfusions are, I think more people will be motivated to donate.”

Virginia Blood Services mobile unit.

Care Advantage Inc., located at 518 East Main Street, offers personal care, transportation and homemaker services for seniors as well as people in rehab. “We, at Care Advantage, are so grateful for any opportunity to give back to the community,” Administrator Samantha Easter said. “We appreciate those who came out to support this amazing cause, and we hope to see more people next time.”

The Virginia Blood Services mobile unit will return to the Care Advantage parking lot on March 19. For more information, contact 540-444-0179.