WINTERSVILLE - Annie Mayle is a recent graduate of Edison High School. While her last months of high school should have been filled with the excitement of graduation and going off to college, she instead was focused on her family after learning her grandfather has cancer.
Since that time, Mayle has become a blood donor and volunteer with the American Red Cross Jefferson County Chapter and is helping to promote the Media Blood Donor Day planned for Tuesday at St. Florian Hall.
Mayle's grandfather, Richard "Dick" Burch, has multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, which are white blood cells normally responsible for producing antibodies.
Annie Mayle is joined by her grandparents, Edwinna and Richard 'Dick' Burch. Mayle, a 2013 graduate of Edison High School, is among the area volunteers helping to promote Tuesday's Media Blood Donor Day at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville. -- Contributed
In patients with multiple myeloma, collections of abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, where they interfere with the production of normal blood cells. The disease develops in one to four people per 100,000 people per year and is more common in men than woman, according to officials.
Since diagnosed, Burch has received 15 units of blood.
Mayle noted that even though she has only donated blood a few times to date, she realizes how important it is to donate on a regular basis.
It was during one of her recent donations at the Wintersville chapter that Kathy Musso, executive director of the local capter, approached Mayle about helping to promote blood donations for the upcoming annual Media Blood Donor Day.
"The chapter was looking for a young adult who could relate to other high school and college students to encourage them to donate during the summer months," Musso said. However, she didn't realize that Mayle had her own Red Cross story until they were filming a public service announcement.
High school and college blood drives collect 25 percent of the blood needed daily to support patients like Richard Burch and others.
Regular blood collections are held in Jefferson County at Indian Creek High School, Steubenville High School, the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, Edison High School, Toronto High School, Buckeye Local High School, Eastern Gateway Community College and Franciscan University of Steubenville.
"Blood donations tend to drop off during the summer months since none of the schools hold drives, plus you have many regular blood donors who vacation and do not take the time to donate," Musso said. "The chapter partnered with local media outlets more than 25 years ago to bolster those summer shortages and encourage individuals to donate."
Participating media outlets this year include the Herald-Star, WTOV-TV, WOGH-FM, WCDK-FM and Clear Channel.
The annual Media Blood Donor Day is set to run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
To donate blood, individuals must be at least 17 years of age, or have parental or guardian consent at 16 in Ohio, weigh 110 pounds and be in generally good health.
To learn more about donating blood or to schedule an appointment for other bloodmobiles throughout the region, visit www.redcross.org.
The chapter is recruiting volunteers to work at bloodmobiles serving refreshments, observing donors, greeting donors and other Red Cross services, such as disaster response and assistance, office support and fundraising. All volunteers must complete an online registration, background check and basic orientation.
For information about volunteering, call Musso at (740) 264-7244.