Borough picks spooky date for blood drive

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2001

He isn't aiming for the jugular, but Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley is definitely out for blood.

He will be "preying" on borough employees and willing members of the public at today's blood drive, perfectly timed to coincide with the ghoulish atmosphere of Halloween.

The drive begins at 9:15 a.m. in the assembly chambers of the Borough Building in Soldotna and is anticipated to continue into the afternoon, as long as there are donors.

"He's a very good supporter of the blood bank," said Rita Wydra, manager of Blood Bank of Alaska in Soldotna.

Describing Bagley as "a regular donor," Wydra said borough-sponsored blood drives happen several times a year.

"This is kind of unique, doing it on Halloween," Bagley said. "We're going to encourage costumes."

Ed Oberts, Bagley's assistant, said the morning schedule of donors already is filled.

"It's looks like a good turnout," said Oberts, who plans to donate, but without the benefit of a costume to hide his identity. "I'm still trying to get my daughter's costume ready."

Craig Chapman, comptroller for the borough, has helped organize today's event and recruited donors.

"No, no, no," he said when asked if he would be in costume. However, he was considering having a camera close at hand to document the activity.

Jack Brown, director for the borough's division of community and economic development, will be participating as a costumed donor. Having had bypass surgery, Brown needs permission from his doctor in order to donate but didn't anticipate that would be a problem. As a member of the North Peninsula Recreation Service Area's softball team, Brown, who plays pitcher and catcher, will be proudly wearing the uniform he wore in the 2001 Amateur Softball Association's men's and co-ed all-state tournament.

The blood bank staff also will be dressed for the occasion.

"This is our time of year," Wydra said. "We're vampires. At least that's what the general public calls us. So we might as well have fun with it."

Decorations and treats will help set the mood.

Potential donors should eat well before coming in, not have too much caffeine and drink plenty of fluids. The process, from start to finish includes a mini-physical and lasts approximately 45 minutes.

Donors can be as young as 17, as long as they have an authorizing order from a doctor. Anyone over 72 also needs a doctor's order.

"If you've got a cold, you don't need to donate," Wydra said. "It'll make you feel worse. Wait a couple of weeks until your cold is cleared up."

And anyone on antibiotics will be prohibited from donating.

Wydra said the blood bank participates in off-site blood drives approximately six times a month, thanks to a specially equipped van that takes staff to communities across the peninsula.

"We're always in need of all types of blood. We never meet all our demands," she said. "O-negative is the universal donor, so we always need that type."

The blood is shipped to Anchorage for processing and then distributed throughout the state to 30 hospitals supplied by Blood Bank of Alaska. Whole blood can be kept as long as 42 days, with different components having varying time rates.

Borough assessor Shane Horan, who has donated before, will celebrate the Halloween event in full nerd costume, including ill-fitting suit coat and polyester pants, black patent leather shoes with white socks, a narrow tie and white shirt.

"And my pocket protector," Horan said. "What else?"

On Tuesday, Bagley wasn't disclosing details about his costume.

"I'm not usually one of those that goes way out on a limb," he said, considering business meetings on his afternoon agenda.

And Brown's reality-based get-up gave him an idea.

"Maybe I'll wear jeans and a wool shirt and come as an Alaskan," Bagley said.

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