Honor the fallen by donating blood at Burgers and Badges

By COLBY DENTON
Posted 7/3/19

As a way of saying “thank you” to our first responders, and at the same time raising essential, life-giving blood donations, Blood Assurance is hosting Burgers and Badges on the 18th anniversary of 9/11 at the Campbell Center of Life Care Centers of America.

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Honor the fallen by donating blood at Burgers and Badges

Posted

As a way of saying “thank you” to our first responders, and at the same time raising essential, life-giving blood donations, Blood Assurance is hosting Burgers and Badges on the 18th anniversary of 9/11 at the Campbell Center of Life Care Centers of America.

Following a blood donation, donors can go across the street to Cooke’s Food Store to meet and socialize with local first responders, who are being treated to a meal of grilled hamburgers for their continued service.

The event was started by Blood Assurance Advisory Board member Alvin Word as a collaboration between the organization and Cleveland State Community College.

Blood Assurance Advisory Board chair Dewayne Belew said it is an excellent way to give back to those who sacrifice so much for us each day.

“Many of the first responders everyone knows should be there, including Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Cleveland Police Department, Bradley County EMS, Bradley County Fire-Rescue. We’ve listed other organizations besides first responders to invite as well, like TWRA, the district attorney’s office and several others,” Belew said.

Numerous large manufacturers have been considered as well. For instance, Wacker Polysilicon has its own internal fire department.

Belew said the goal is to extend the invitation to all manner of first responders and never exclude anyone.

Three event subcommittee meetings  were held to plan the event. The full advisory board met in May to look at its list of contacts, goals and logistics.

A high number of blood donors are expected, with the organization’s goal being to collect 200 units of blood by day’s end.

Blood Assurance special collections administrator Jamie Schwitzgoebel and operations manager Kevin Blasbery are collaborating with Cleveland Blood Assurance to ensure the operation goes well.

“Kevin and I have done lots of big blood drives like this, so it should go pretty smoothly,” Schwitzgoebel said.

Taking place on the 18th anniversary of 9/11, Burgers and Badges is intended to recognize the first responders who ran toward the devastation in New York, not away from it.

Remembering that day is heart-wrenching for most Americans, but Belew said it did bring the country together, with countless people coming to Blood Assurances across the country to donate, not worried about wait times or inconveniences.

Unfortunately, the summer months are a lull for blood donations, as high schools are often one of the biggest facilities for collections.

Large manufacturers that don’t have air conditioning can’t allow their employees to donate blood in the summer either, because if they donate then come back into a hot environment, they could pass out. People going on vacation are another common, summertime distraction.

It’s because of these factors that blood supplies often dwindle each summer.

Running a hospital alone requires around 400 or more units of blood per day, so raising 200 units in a single day through Burgers and Badges will help local hospitals significantly.

All blood types will be accepted during the event,. Blasbery said they’d make the best use of whatever blood they’re given.

A machine called the ALYX machine will also be featured, which collects two units of red blood cells instead of one during a single donation. This allows a donor to double the impact of the donation.

“The donors at Burgers and Badges will get a  Blood Assurance T-shirt and the satisfaction of saving some lives,” Blasbery said.

Prior to giving blood, be sure to eat a good meal, drink plenty of fluids and allot at least 30-40 minutes for wait time and the procedure.

Serve Pro, Cooke's Food Store and Alvin and Melissa Word are sponsors for the event. 

The blood drive takes place from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The special lunch for first responders is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To register, call Blood Assurance at 423-476-3201 or visit bloodassurance.org.

The Campbell Center of Life Care Centers of America is located at 3001 Keith St. For more information, check out www.bloodassurance.org.

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