Blood drive

Felicia Kroencke points to the bandage to show that she had already donated. She helped coordinate the drive for the BGHS National Honor Society. Some of her family were there as well to help and to donate. Photo by Stan Schwartz

BOWLING GREEN—Bowling Green High School’s National Honor Society hosted a blood drive for the American Red Cross in the high school’s auditorium Thursday. 

“Our National Honor Society does a summer blood drive here at the school,” Felicia Kroencke said. This is the third year for the Honor Society as hosts of the summer blood drive.

Kroencke, the coordinator for this event, said turnout for the drive was good. There had been a steady stream of people coming in since they opened the doors at 2 p.m. All the tables were filled and more people were being interviewed for the donation process.

She has been coordinating the local blood drive for the Honor Society for the past three years. Before that, she says, she did it for other groups.

“My fifth graders used to do a blood drive when I taught at Clopton,” Kroencke said. She is a big believer in the Red Cross’ mission to collect blood.

“It’s been a good day,” she said. “We started at 2 p.m. and the beds have been filled since then.”

The blood drive ran from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Kroencke was hoping to get at least 30 units of blood in that time. Last year, she noted, they were able to collect 29 units. This year, however, they surpassed last year and hit 35 units collected.

Terri Morrison, a teacher at Bowling Green Elementary was laying comfortably on one of the special beds brought in by the members of the Red Cross. They supply all the equipment and the personnel to collect blood. On the organization’s website, there are easy ways for groups or individuals to become hosts for blood drives. The instructions give people all the information needed for hosting such an event.

Kroencke said Morrison is one of her regulars, and there were several in the room giving blood at the time.

“There are certain people I can count on (each year),” Kroencke said. “We’ve had a bigger crowd (so far) this year,” she added, than from what they had last year.

Amber Riley, a recent graduate of Bowling Green High School was donating blood. She says she likes to donate every time there is a blood drive at the school.

The call for blood donations has been increasing from the Red Cross, which stated that the donor blood supply was at a critical level.

They make the donation process as easy as possible. Anyone 17 and older can donate. Sixteen year olds can donate with a parent’s permission.

“I just had a 16 year old here. She just finished. She came in with her mom and they both donated,” Kroencke said.

The blood drive is extremely important to her. Kroencke donates blood herself, and was sporting a bandage on the crook of her elbow from her recent donation. She also had her daughters there, one of whom had already donated. Her oldest, Hannah, had to sit this one out because of low iron levels in her blood. But she was there to volunteer her time and support her mother and the Honor Society.

Another regular donor, Karen Arico, said she likes to donate regularly.

And even the Red Cross has entered into the digital age with a donor app for people’s smart phones. It finds local blood drives and donation centers it has an appointment scheduling and rescheduling component, it notifies you when your blood is on its way to a patient, it keeps a record of results from your mini-physical, sends you appointment reminders, it keeps track of total blood donations, sends out special blood shortage alert messages, lets you join or create a lifesaving team, recruit other blood donors and view rankings on the Blood Donor Teams Leaderboard.

Once signed up, using the app Arico said you’re ready to go. “They then text you and call you and email you every time there’s a blood drive. You cannot run or hide from them,” she said with a smile.

Arico and Kroencke said the app is much better than when they were issued donor cards. They said it was too easy to lose one’s card.

Arico was sitting at the recovery table where donors were being served cookies and juice. It’s important to wait a few minutes after a donation before venturing back out. Some people have experienced dizziness, while others are just fine after donating.

According to the Red , approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S; nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily in the U.S.; nearly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.

The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 units. And the blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.

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