Valentines Day flowers and chocolates have their place, but the only way to give a true gift of the heart in February is by donating blood.
The Greater Alleghenies Region of the American Red Cross is hosting several blood drives for the remainder of the month at West Virginia University.
From its base in Johnstown, Pa., the Greater Alleghenies Region distributes blood and blood products to more than 100 hospitals across West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Kentucky and Virginia.
Blood gives life to car crash victims needing transfusions, and to cancer patients who need the blood platelets and other byproducts to survive the rigors of their treatment.
Nearly 27,000 units of blood and its components were used last year alone by WVU Hospitals, according to numbers culled by the Red Cross. Neighboring Monongalia General Hospital required more than 7,500 units for patient care.