When Melissa Pearman, Hodgenville Family Resource Center coordinator, set the goal for the center’s third Red Cross blood drive, she thought 32 donors would be great.
When workers totaled the pints of blood donated at Hodgenville Elementary School’s gymnasium Jan. 26, however, the amount collected, 54 pints, proved to be a happy surprise.
“Each pint a person donates saves three lives,” said Tammy Ritchie, donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross. “The people here really stepped up to the plate, giving us the biggest ever collection here at the school.”
Ritchie credited the “Pint-sized Hero” program for the output.
“The American Red Cross gave me a newsletter and a donation card for each child in my school, asking the parents to support the drive,” Pearman said. “They are also giving each child who gets a donor a goody bag and the class with the most participation will receive a pizza party.”
Once the information was distributed a couple of weeks ago, the response was, according to Ritchie, “exciting and overwhelming.”
Troy Skaggs, one of the HES parents who was giving blood for the first time, reasoned, “I know there’s always a need for blood, and who knows, the one that might need it sometime might be me.”
Another parent, Charles Nall, said he was giving because it “seemed the Good Samaritan thing to do.”
Ritchie said the entire procedure, from signing in to eating a post-donation snack, takes less than an hour.
“What better way to spend one hour than to save three lives?” she said.
She added that, contrary to what many people think, donors with diabetes or on blood pressure medicine can give if they meet certain criteria.
“If people are interested in giving, but have any questions, they can call 1-800-Givelife and have their questions answered,” she said.
Ritchie said every prospective donor is given an on-site mini-physical in which staff members check their blood pressure, pulse, temperature and iron count. Those that pass wait their turn to lie on a table, have a certified collection technician specialist draw the blood which is later separated into platelets, plasma and whole blood.
Karyn Brey, a teacher and regular donor, said she first gave blood when she was a LaRue County High School student in the Teens Who Care organization. Isabella Johnson, who collected Brey’s blood, said the actual collection can take anywhere from four to 15 minutes.
Loni White, public relations director for the 70-county Red Cross region that includes Hardin and LaRue counties, said that blood supply on hand is currently stable.
“People are donating, but the only way for the collections to remain stable is for them to continue giving,” she said.