It had been slow going on the after-school route for Fort Loramie school bus driver Sharon Holdheide. A wide-load vehicle had clogged the road and put her a half hour behind schedule.
But when she finally got home, some good news was waiting: She had just won the grand prize $5,000 Lowe’s home improvement gift card in the Community Blood Center “Build a Better Blood Supply Summer Blood Drive.”
“You have got to be kidding, oh my goodness!” Sharon said. “You just made a bad day turn out to be very good.”
Everyone who registered to donate blood with CBC from May 29 through Sept. 1 was automatically entered in the drawing to win the $5,000 home improvement gift card. Those eligible to donate again could enter twice. At the end of the campaign period there were nearly 19,000 entries.
Sharon entered the drawing when she registered to donate June 19 at the St. Michael’s Hall “Country Fun Blood Drive” in her hometown of Fort Loramie. It was her 69th lifetime blood donation. It turned out to be very lucky donation, randomly chosen by computer as the contest winner.
“I started donating blood when I was 16 years old,” said Sharon. “My dad always donated and encouraged us to as well. Those of us that could always tried to help out.”
Sharon said her husband Dave also came from a family of donors. “After we were married it just became part of our routine,” she said.
Dave now has 136 lifetime donations. “If I had been able to donate continuously since I was 16, I would have had more gallons donated than Dave,” said Sharon, “So I guess it was a friendly competition between us!”
Sharon said their children Emily and Alan often went with them to blood drives, “So they just grew up with it. They both started donating when they were 16.”
An early opportunity to donate as a family came on Dec. 23, 2014 when they went together to the Sacred Heart of Jesus blood drive in McCartyville. Sharon still had on the Santa cap she wore on her bus route and they all posed for pictures in their CBC “Be a Deer – Donate Blood” reindeer t-shirts.
“It always felt great to hit a gallon milestone and to know we were helping someone out,” said Sharon. “We might need blood sometime and I’ll sure be glad someone donated to save one of our lives.”
The goal of the “Build a Better Blood Supply” blood drive was to help CBC maintain a steady blood supply through the challenging summer months. That mission was accomplished with more than 16,000 units donated. Now the grand prize will help the Holdheide family make some home improvements.
We haven’t decided for sure what we might do with the gift card,” said Sharon. “We might do a big project like new flooring throughout the house, or some smaller projects like new doors, painting, and a gas grill. We’re thinking we might just go to Lowe’s and walk around to get some ideas.”
They can take their time and enjoy the journey. “I feel very excited and appreciative,” said Sharon. “We’ll be able to find something we can use. Wow!”