WILKES-BARRE — Two highly recognized and respected local institutions worked together on Saturday to keep the blood supply stocked in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The Geisinger Blood Center held a blood drive geared toward fans of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Toyota SportsPlex on Coal Street in Wilkes-Barre.
Hockey fans “scored a goal” for a good cause by donating blood, said Penguins vice president of corporate partnerships Rob Belza.
This is the second time both organizations partnered this way, Belza said. They held their first drive back in February which he said was “very successful.”
“When Geisinger approached us with this idea we thought it would be a great way to reach out to our fans and the community,” Belza said. “It was a win-win situation.”
The SportsPlex offered a great venue, which gave the hockey team a chance to showcase their facilities to existing and potentially new fans, Belza added.
“The Penguins are very interested in developing partnerships with organizations like the Geisinger Blood Center,” he said. “We become part of a team focused on helping the local community.”
Donors were rewarded for their generosity, receiving a ticket voucher for any future regular season home Penguins game and a tee-shirt.
Mike Quint, Geisinger Blood Center director, said about 50 donors gave blood at the previous drive and he is confident Saturday’s toll will top that number. Many of them were first time donors who said they will participate in any upcoming drives at the hockey practice site, Quint said.
“The Penguins are excellent to work with because they have a great following of fans,” Quint said. “The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are a well-established and accommodating team. It’s no wonder their fans are generous and supportive.”
Blood is not manufactured, Quint said, and its demand is not “seasonal. The Geisinger Health System uses about 70 units each day to keep pace to meet the local need for blood, he added.
“All of the blood collected stays local and is distributed in the Geisinger service area,” Quint stressed. “The Penguins liked that because they know the donors are helping families, friends and neighbors.”
With warmer weather approaching, Saturday’s blood drive was scheduled at the perfect time to meet the increasing demand with the increase in outdoor physical activities, Quint said
“Our partnership with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins is the result of our collective success from the blood drive we hosted with them last month,” Quint pointed out. “While they’re huge supporters of us, you could as easily say that we’re huge fans of theirs.”
To learn more about Geisinger Blood Center, upcoming bloods drives or make an appointment to donate, visit geisingerbloodcenter.org.