PIQUA — As summer vacation gets under way, many area students are thinking, “No more pencils, no more books!” But after final donations on May 24, students of the Upper Valley Career Center, are more likely saying, “No more needles, no more pokes,” until the other side of summer.
UVCC hosted two Community Blood Center blood drives during the 2015-16 school year, and the most recent one was the final blood drive of the year across CBC’s 15-county region. It put an exclamation point on a year of 226 blood drives in 118 high schools that resulted in 14,655 registrations with 6,252 first-time donors and 11,461 blood donations.
“This is a great example of how young people across our region are so enthusiastic about making a difference in their communities and helping neighbors in need,” said CBC Donor Relations Director Andrew Keelor. “Nearly one-fourth of all registrations to donate whole blood at CBC come from our high school students.”
CBC also awarded 2,200 Red Cords to graduating seniors who qualified for the Red Cord Honor Program by registering to donate at least three times during their high school years.
It was a remarkable way to end the year for UVCC. First, it came down to the wire, hosting the blood drive with just two days to spare before the final day of classes.
The blood drive was also held without the help of seniors, who had finished classes the week before. The juniors-only blood drive had 122 registrations, 51 first-time donors and 98 donations for 109 percent of the collection goal. That compared impressively to UVCC’s fall blood drive — with juniors and seniors — that totaled 120 donors and 105 donations.
Mitzi Clark, who coordinates the UVCC blood drives with fellow Medical Technology instructor Tami Yahle, said the difference is there is a much longer waiting list for the fall blood drive.
“In the spring, we have students out three days of the week in hospitals or in the community doing extensive job shadowing,” she said. “We’re back in class for the last two weeks of school. But they’re finished with their class work and it’s a good time for them.”
“I do it because I’m O negative,” said Ramsey Robinson, an Interactive Media student who made his third lifetime donation Tuesday, qualifying for the CBC Red Cord Honor Program. “I see it as a way you can save a lot of people. It’s crazy how O negative helps so many people — it’s a rarity.”
Chelsie Brautigan is an Exercise Science student who wants to become a physical therapist. She made her first lifetime donation Tuesday, and it turned out to be one of her final learning experiences of the school year.
“I know kids in class who have done it before,” she said. “I had never done it, but they said it wasn’t bad. It seems scary when you think about it. But the finger prick (for hemoglobin screening) was worse than the donating!”