The next Red Cross blood drive is scheduled in Hillsboro for Wednesday, Aug. 5, at the Firemen’s Community Center from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Most people are well aware of the continuing need for blood in hospitals and medical centers throughout the year, and fortunately local people have a wonderful record of responding on a regular basis.
Many of the top contributors have been donating for years. There are close to 10 contributors that have given more than 20 gallons of blood, and a dozen others in the high teens.
“It’s a giving community for sure,” notes Co-Chairman Theresa Nemec, who has been leading the campaign for 43 years, along with Co-Chair Karen Chalupecky. The two friends started working on the blood drive together in April 1972.
The standing goal for attendance at the blood drives is 80 contributors, but recently that has been topped quite often and is now averaging 85.
Of course, there are many repeaters, among them the area Amish, who are a wonderful benefit to the blood drives and comprise at least 75% of the regular donors.
“They have been strong supporters for some time now,” Nemec told the Sentry Enterprise in a recent interview.
“They have told me that they are not doctors, nurses, or ambulance drivers, but feel that they can help out by donating blood.”
Nemec offered some tips for first-time donors, who might be harboring the fear of pain while giving the blood. She explained that it was actually a very unnecessary concern with highly professional Red Cross nurses handling the removal of the contributed blood. The needles are now so thin, it’s hardly different than just getting a normal flu shot.
“I think some of the men are more fearful of passing out, especially the first time,” she reported. “All of our donors are always treated with respect and appreciation.”
Another important tip to donors is to drink some extra fluids right before coming to the blood drive, because it makes the veins a little larger and easier for the nurses to locate.
A number of volunteers make the regular blood drive programs successful. Helpful people set up the area where blood is donated, and prepare a light lunch for contributors.
Afterward, the donated blood is taken to Red Cross Blood Centers, where it is carefully stored and prepared for use by those in need.
The blood never comes back to the specific area where it was obtained.
Donations seem to plunge in the summertime. The Red Cross reports 100,000 less donations in summer than the rest of the year. And that makes an August blood drive very important for the entire Scenic Bluffs Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The concept of a blood drive is really remarkable, when you think about the fact that the blood you donate will eventually aid some other person, and perhaps even help save a life.
What greater calling can there be than that?