Our Appeal To Lawyers - Roll Up Your Sleeves And Give Blood!

Monday, January 1, 2007 - 01:00

With the winter holidays just around the corner, many of us are starting to think about the perfect gift for that special someone. But what would be the greatest gift to give yourself this holiday season?

How about knowing you saved a lifeor two?

This winter, our region's blood supply is predicted to be critically low around holiday, travel and inclement weather time. That's why the staff here at The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel has joined as a media sponsor of the American Red Cross Blood Services, Penn-Jersey Region's Winter Challenge , which will reach out to Philadelphia-area lawyers and law firms during these crucial winter months to ask for their help in meeting the region's diminishing blood supply. In keeping with the spirit of giving this holiday season, we ask that you take an hour of your time to help save multiple lives. Roll up those sleeves and support the blood drive, especially when your help is needed most.

The Winter Challenge will take place during January and February, and will urge lawyers in the Philadelphia metropolitan area to collect pints together in the names of their firms and the entire legal community. In addition to The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel , the Winter Challenge is also sponsored by the Red Cross Legal Initiative Advisory Committee, and is supported by the Philadelphia Bar Association's Young Lawyers' Division, the Association of Corporate Counsel - Delaware Valley (DELVACCA) Chapter, and the Philadelphia office of American Lawyer Media, publisher of The Legal Intelligencer.

"We are all busy in today's world, but it is incumbent upon us to take some time every day to think about how we can help someone else in need," said the Red Cross legal initiative co-chair and board member Kate Layman, who is a member of Cozen O'Connor's health law practice group. "That is why I coordinate the blood drives at our firm, and why I encourage my colleagues across the city to do the same. When you run a drive with the support of firm management, you encourage and inspire teamwork across the firm; you make an important contribution to a worthy cause; and you can save hundreds of lives."

As an added bonus in this Winter Challenge , internationally renowned chef Daniel Stern, owner of Queen Village eatery Gayle and the new Cira Center restaurant Rae, has donated a $125 gift certificate to each of his restaurants for a legal community-wide raffle in which any lawyers or staff at the sponsoring firms are entered if they make it a point to take the time to donate. The winning firms will also be published in a future issue of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel.

This is not the first time the American Red Cross has tapped the Philadelphia legal community for its help in reaching the blood supply goals. The Summer Challenge , an eight week-long event that took place in Philadelphia this past July and August, was a great success thanks to the efforts of many of the city's most prominent law firms.

"We are so grateful to the legal community for the spirit and passion that they have shown us in the past," said Brigid O'Neill-LaGier, CEO of the American Red Cross Blood Services, Penn-Jersey Region. "We know that we can continue to count on their support during these next few months, when blood donations are most needed."

While 60 percent of people are eligible to donate blood, only five percent actually opt to. These numbers, coupled with the 95 percent of all people who live to the age of 72 that will need blood or blood products at some time in their lives, make this effort not only challenging, but critical as well.

Blood drives will be sponsored by the following firms throughout January and February: Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP; Blank Rome LLP; Cozen O'Connor; Dechert LLP; Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP; Duane Morris LLP; Fox Rothschild LLP; Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP; Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP; Pepper Hamilton LLP; Post & Schell, P.C.; Rawle & Henderson, LLP; Reed Smith; Reilly, Janiczek & McDevitt, P.C.; Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP; Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP; White and Williams LLP; and WolfBlock. You can also donate at your own local drive - just remember to make sure your law firm gets credit for your donation so its participation rate ranks well in the Winter Challenge.

Most healthy people who are at least 17 years old and weigh 110 pounds or more are eligible to donate every 56 days. Donors can give blood at any one of nearly 200 bloodmobiles sponsored by business and community groups in southeastern Pennsylvania and in New Jersey weekly, or at one of nine community donor centers.

To make an immediate appointment for an American Red Cross blood drive, please call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-448-3543), or visit www.pleasegiveblood.org to find a listing of community blood drives.