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Community Service

Community Service

Employees Give Blood to Give Back

Employees Give Blood to Give Back

Jessica walked into her high school gym, ready for her first blood drive and happy she had reached the age old enough to donate.  

Nearly 20 years and almost 11 gallons of donated blood later, Jessica lay, arm out, on a Red Cross table at a recent drive at Corning’s Decker Building.   

“I see it as my good deed,” said Jessica, a long-time Corning employee. “If I needed it, I hope people would help me.”

Corning’s director of Health Services, indicated, on average, those able to donate blood can give one pint every 56 days, or a maximum of 6.5 times per year. Because she has given more than 85 pints, Jessica averages donating between four and five times a year, only falling short of the maximum due to illness or travel.

While Jessica said she is certainly willing to travel to a blood drive, with Corning often sponsoring drives right at her workplace, it’s simply one more thing to schedule into her calendar.

“There’s always a blood shortage,” she said. “Corning makes donating so convenient; I just head right over during the work day.”

The Red Cross estimates about 40 percent of the population is medically able to give blood, but Chris Hart, business development manager for the Red Cross, said only about 5 percent of the eligible group donates.

“Expanding our donor base is a critical message we are trying to get out there,” said Corning's Health Services Director. “Last year a little over 1000 employees donated 2,500 pints of blood which averages out to 2.5 pints per employee. If 50 percent of our valley employees donated just once, we would meet or exceed that number.”

In February, Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, visited Headquarters to thank Corning employees for setting an example for other companies. Chris explained the number of units the Red Cross collects from Corning nationally ranks the company just outside the top ten of corporations the Red Cross works with as an entire organization.

"When I talk to corporations about creating programs, I say let me tell you how Corning does it," Gail said on her visit.

Hart added, “The number of people (from Corning) who donate is astronomical. It’s folks like [Jessica] who allow us to supply hospitals and save patients on a daily basis.”  

Corning values its relationship with organizations like the Red Cross.

“The Red Cross does a lot in the area—not just blood drives,” a Corning employee said. “Corning sees the Red Cross as an integral partner in the community.”

Denise, who works with Jessica as her supervisor, said Jessica serves as a model to her and her colleagues.

“I’ve only given a few gallons and I am much older than her. I don’t know that she knows just how much help she has given,” said Denise. “She has definitely encouraged those around her to give blood too.”

As for Jessica, she said she hopes to encourage her daughter to donate when she becomes old enough.

For now, though, she said she plans to keep donating for as long as she can.

“What really means a lot to me is when someone says a simple and sincere, ‘Thanks,’” she said.