January 24, 2007 - Resident Donates Over 20 Gallons of Blood

By Stephanie Johnson
Joe Gray has personally donated over 20 gallons. That doesn’t seem like much when you are talking about milk or gasoline. But when you say it in terms of donating blood, it seems quite unbelievable.

“I started in 1961 and have continued to donate every 56 days since then,” says Gray, 64, of Marietta. “That’s roughly five times a year and every ounce has been donated at Marietta Memorial Hospital.”

Marietta Memorial Hospital runs one of only two independent blood banks in the state of Ohio. MMH draws, processes and transfuses the units of blood collected, meaning donated blood stays right here in our community. Blood donations are used at Marietta Memorial to save the lives of people in our community, patients at the Strecker Cancer Center, patients having certain kinds of surgery and accident victims that are brought to Marietta Memorial.

January is National Blood Donor Month. Blood is traditionally in short supply during the winter months due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness. January, in particular, is a difficult month for blood centers to collect blood donations. Marietta Memorial Hospital’s` goal is to help ensure that blood is available to patients whenever and wherever it is needed.

“I think of it as a service to my community,” says Gray. “Donating blood requires little effort and does so much good.”

After the donation process is complete, the blood is made into components, each doing its own special job to save lives. Just one pint of blood can save three lives: by providing packed red blood cells for patients with a low blood count; the plasma is used to help a patient clot; and platelets are given to cancer patients that have a lower platelet count because of treatments.

Sylvia Caporale, owner of American Flags and Poles in downtown Marietta, started donating in 1995 after the bombing in Oklahoma City.

“I wanted to help any way that I could,” stated Caporale, 59, of Marietta. “Donating blood is easy, convenient and painless. I am blessed with good health and want to share it with as many people as I can.” Caporale donates her blood at Marietta Memorial Hospital and sets a schedule of donating every ten weeks.

“I make an appointment each time I donate because it is easiest for me. I realize some business people might think it is difficult to get to the hospital to donate,” continued Caporale. “That is why we have four blood drives at The Armory on Front Street each year. This way more business owners and employees downtown have the opportunity to donate blood.”

Marietta Memorial Hospital is hosting a Blood Donor Dinner on February 5 for anyone donating two or more gallons of blood in the past two years to their blood bank.

“This is our way of saying ‘thanks’,” said Mike McGowan, Director of Laboratory at Marietta Memorial. “Our donors are extremely dedicated to our hospital and this community and we want to recognize them for all they’ve done.”

Blood donations can be made by making an appointment at Marietta Memorial Hospital’s blood bank by calling 740-374-1432 or by visiting the blood mobile at one of our local blood drives. Dates and locations of the blood mobile are listed on Marietta Memorial’s website at If you or your business is interested in sponsoring a blood drive, please contact Cindy Hart at 740-374-1634.

Posted: 2007-01-24
CONTACT: Jennifer Offenberger,
Director of Marketing & Public Relations
Marietta Memorial Hospital
Phone: 740-374-1797


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