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Giving blood is the greatest gift of all

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The need for gifts is increasing this time of year, but instead of opening your wallet, all you need to do is roll up your sleeves.

That's what people were doing Wednesday in Weirton. The holiday season is all about giving, and representatives are reminding everyone that donating blood to save a life can be the most important gift that you can give.

With blood in short supply over the holiday season because of factors like busy travel, inclement weather, or illness, the Weirton Medical Center uses an incentive program for its employees to meet the heightened demand.

"Paid days off, various gift cards, and gifts. We need to get people down here to donate," said Kelli McCoy, director of communications at Weirton Medical Center. "Lord knows we do use the blood supply here at the hospital, and we want to replenish it. We know that the holidays are a difficult time. We just want to play our part in helping the community."

The Weirton Medical Center is in its 30th year partnering with the Central Blood Bank. Nurse practitioner Makenzie Dunbar works in the vein center at the hospital. She was happy to step out for a moment to donate blood, enough that could potentailly save up to three people's lives.

"It's really important to give around the holiday season," she said. "It always seems like there are more tragedies around the holidays, and even though donations are down, it's great that everyone comes out for a great cause and you can mark something off of your Christmas list.

It is expected that around 50 people participated in today's drive. The Central Blood Bank and the Weirton Medical Center hope to continue that high trend of donations through the holiday season.

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