Full Armor surpasses blood drive goal

Photo Provided

LOCK HAVEN — As the American Red Cross pulled into the parking lot of Full Armor Wellness, a crew of 14 Full Armor members and their Silver Lab “Storm” went into action to help set up the blood drive. By noon, registration had begun and donors started to roll in.

For the next 7.5 hours, the parking lot continued to fill up as did the pint bags of blood.

“Our members jumped in and helped make this blood drive run so smoothly,” said owner Andy Wertz. “They registered donors, helped them through the rapid pass process, helped with food, held patients’ hands, and everything in between. This day was not about Full Armor, Jodie, or myself. On this day, the business was set aside and it was about a group of people and a community coming together to make a difference, and to save as many lives as possible.”

Wertz said their goal as owners is to help as many people as possible and to give back to our community.

“Today, I can absolutely say that we did just that. Thank you so much to every single person and business for showing how we can come together as a TEAM, and make a difference in this world. It is time for all of us to lead by example and show compassion, kindness, and love to each other.”

Photo Provided Andy and Jodie Wertz, owners of Full Armor Wellness.

Jodie Wertz called the event “truly amazing and heartwarming to watch everything come together.”

The crew from the Red Cross worked tirelessly moving donors through the process. This blood drive was larger than most any other that they had ever done in the area. Yet, they persevered and continued to collect pint after pint of life saving blood.

“I can say this is one of many blood drives that I have worked at that I really enjoyed working at. The sponsors and volunteers are amazing people” stated a Red Cross worker.

The American Red Cross set a lofty goal of 67 units of blood for this drive. In the end, 92 units of blood were collected (137% of the goal)! This will in turn save 276 patients lives. Of these, 43% of the blood collected were from first time donors.

“Our Full Armor members have it ingrained in them that Failure Is Not An Option and that anything is achievable, and these results prove just that!” Andy stated.

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“To have nearly half of the donors being new donors show up to a first time blood drive, that is pretty impressive” Jodie added.

“We had so much food left over from the drive that we were able to deliver a large box of goodies to the Women’s Center in Lock Haven. Our goal for the day was to make an impact on the community and we wanted to stretch it as far as possible,” she said.

Full Armor will be hosting this blood drive annually on the Friday before Labor Day and are looking to exceed over 100 units in 2020.

There was over $1,900 in giveaways with over 50 people walking away with a gift.

The owners said, “We want to personally thank every single person and business that aided in making this such a huge success. Thank you to all of our members that volunteered their time, food and blood. Also to all of the business’ and individuals for your generous donations.”

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Marge Smith of the American Red Cross said the blood drive collected over three times the original goal, saving potentially almost 300 lives

“Their determination to collect closer to 100 units, drove them to ask community businesses for support and donated giveaway items and gift cards totaling close to $2,000. Additionally, Full Armor Wellness donated three one-month memberships and are now making this “Blood-a-thon” an annual event for the Friday of Labor Day weekend,” she said.

The American Red Cross continues to have an emergency need for blood and platelets, Smith said. “The Red Cross is urging eligible individuals to give now to help avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients. While thousands of people have responded to the urgent call for blood and platelet donations issued by the Red Cross in early July, an emergency need remains. Blood and platelet donations are needed now as many regular donors delay giving to take final summer vacations and prepare for school to start.”

Right now, Smith said the Red Cross has less than a three-day supply of most blood types available – and less than a two-day supply of type O blood. Blood donations are currently being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in as more donations are needed now to replenish the blood supply. She said the Red Cross strives to keep a five-day supply on hand at all times to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies that would require significant volumes of donated blood products.

Blood transfusion is the fourth most common inpatient hospital procedure in the U.S., and these blood products can only come from volunteer donors, she said.

“Yet, only three out of 100 people in the U.S. give blood,” she said.

Unlike many other lifesaving medical tr­­­eatments, blood donations cannot be stockpiled. Red blood cells have a shelf-life of only 42 days and platelets just five days. Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations. Type O positive is the most common blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.

“Summer blood shortages are not uncommon, but they can be overcome when generous volunteer donors roll up their sleeves to restock the shelves. To ensure lifesaving treatments remain available for patients in the coming weeks, donations are needed now. Eligible donors, as well as those who have never given before, are urged to make and keep blood and platelet donation appointments to help replenish the blood supply,” Smith said.

Businesses that donated to the recent Full Armor blood drive include:

Top Donors ($200.00) — Full Armor, McHenry Construction, Pizza Mia, Sheetz of Mill Hall.

Donors — Avery Dennison, Browns Hill Tavern, Slaterbeck Garage, Haven Spa, Best Western, Weis Markets, Hair Studio 35, Haywood’s on the Green, Curt’s Smokin Ribs, CO2, Jenn’s Dazzling Jewels, Avenue 209, OIP in Mill Hall, Potters Pallet, Dunkin Donuts, Cryssy Lehman (31 Gift Product), Tara Crawford, Julie Brennan, Andy and Jodie Wertz.