One of the unfortunate consequences of the coronavirus pandemic was the cancellation of this year’s Barnesville Blood Bash at Barnesville High School. An annual spring tradition for 35 years, the daylong event hosted by seniors brought together school and community to save lives through blood donations. In the past few years, the event collected almost 600 donations in one day, and historically the Bash has collected enough blood to save 40,000 area patients.

Because school closing, social distancing and other safety requirements forced the cancellation of the 2020 Bash, Barnesville High School is hosting four smaller drives in June to help make up for some of the lost donations.

Blood drives will be held in the gymnasium and wrestling room at the high school, 910 Shamrock Dr., Barnesvile, on: Friday, June 5 and June 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Thursday, June 11 and June 25 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"The necessary cancellation of the Blood Bash was a disappointment to the school community as well as the community at large. Everyone looked forward to the event and we always had such great support across the spectrum," said Ron Clark, Barnesville High School principal. "We hope the community will support the tradition by helping local patients and students through these smaller drives instead. Each blood donation saves three lives, and the students earn scholarship funds as well."

Vitalant, formerly Central Blood Bank, which operates the blood drives, provides blood and blood products to Barnesville Hospital, Belmont Community Hospital, East Liverpool City Hospital and Harrison Community Hospital, as well as WVU Medicine facilities.

Blood donation has been a permitted, essential health care activity throughout the pandemic, and Vitalant follows FDA and local safety protocols to keep donors and staff safe. They include social distancing, frequent disinfection and requiring all donors and staff to wear masks or cloth face coverings.