Posted by Michelle Stefan on Mar 30, 2013
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Through the blood screenings it hosts, Buckhannon Rotary raises $50,000 to $55,000 annually to give back to community organizations.

As the only fundraiser for Rotary, the screenings are important to more than just the Rotary Foundation - they benefit the entire community.

"If we don't do this and we aren't successful, those organizations will not get as much of any funding," Rotarian Jody Light said during a recent Rotary presentation. "It's that important."

Light and fellow Rotarian Debbie Huber were invited to speak with Rotarian Marty Kelley as part of her presentation about Rotary.

"Our signature product is the blood screening," Kelley said. "As you age, you really need to watch those things. It's a really good thing."

Kelley said that in some cases, the screening is the only medical care or test that individuals receive each year.

"They come to screening thinking that if it's the only thing they can do this year, it will give them some kind of a bellwether test if they're healthy or not," Kelley said. "Thirty-five dollars and that is all they have this year for medical care, so our blood screening is really, really important."

The blood screening can even save lives. Huber said a woman in New Martinsville heard about the blood screening and traveled long distance to be screened at St. Joseph's Hospital. The results of the test were sent to the woman's doctor.

"She said that the blood screening saved her life, because as soon as the doctor received that test result, he immediately called her, sent her to the hospital. She had to have a blood transfusion," Huber said. "If she would not have had that, she would have been dead within two weeks. That's how much this blood screening matters."

Huber said it is important to get volunteers from Rotary to help with the screenings. The next screenings will be from 6:30 to 10 a.m. April 13 and 27 at the Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School.

"This is such an important matter," Huber said. "What we're doing is we are helping our community to keep them healthier, and to keep them in a better lifestyle."

When Light started working with the blood screenings through Rotary, she helped make some changes. Screenings are now offered to businesses for employees. If enough screenings are promised, it can take place at the business so employees don't have to travel elsewhere.

Some businesses that have participated include Wendling's Food Service J.F., Allen Co., West Virginia Wesleyan College, Corhart, the Upshur County Senior Center, the city of Buckhannon, the Department of Highways and many others.

The blood screenings are a collaboration with St. Joseph's Hospital. Hospital staff will assist with the screenings. Participants must indicate a physician who will receive the results, but individuals can request the results as well, President Mike Coffman said.

Individuals who want to see the same results seen by their doctor, may visit the basement of St. Joseph's Hospital and sign a records release statement.

There is no cost to receive those records.