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Allegheny Valley Hospital connects with Central Blood Bank

| Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, 12:16 a.m.

In an effort to expand blood collections in the Alle-Kiski Valley, Allegheny Valley Hospital has transitioned its community blood program to be run by the Central Blood Bank.

“Central Blood Bank is the region's largest blood center. They do over 200 monthly blood drives,” hospital spokeswoman Linda Dalak said. “It will be a more concerted effort with blood drives.”

The transition was completed in early December.

Dalak said she doesn't expect many changes in the locations of collections.

“We want our donors to know that their donations will continue to benefit the hospital and the local community,” she said.

Allegheny Valley Hospital has had a community blood program for more than 40 years. Last year, the hospital collected more than 2,000 units of blood through relationships with 650 organizations, 13 school districts and the Pittsburgh Mills mall.

The Central Blood Bank annually distributes 350,000 blood products to about 40 hospitals in Western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio.

The organization has 25 community donor centers and fixed mobile sites throughout Western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.

Blood bank spokesman John Pepper said the organization is hopeful that the change will benefit the area.

“This is a very big deal for us here at Central Blood Bank because it does open up some additional donors to us,” he said. “We have resources in terms of staffing, equipment and machines, which will enable us to maximize collection in that region.

“We hope donors who supported Allegheny Valley would support Central Blood Bank.”

To ensure an adequate blood supply for area patients in need of transfusions, the Central Blood Bank must see 500 donors each day. Less than 3 percent of the Pittsburgh population donates blood, according to the blood bank.

Central Blood Bank offers a number of incentives to encourage people to donate blood. They include Enjoy coupon books and raffles for participating donors.

There is a rewards program for regular donors. Members earn points that can be redeemed for rewards. The points can be donated to support charities, as well.

Blood bank Executive Director Michele Tysarczyk said in a news release that the organization is hopeful this latest effort will be as successful as its donor center at the Heights Plaza in Harrison.

“We look forward to providing the same high level of service the donors in this region have received from Allegheny Valley Hospital by offering many convenient and rewarding donation opportunities,” she said.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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