ImageKETTERING, Ohio – Being part of a team, and together doing a little bit more to help others emerged as the unofficial theme of the Community Blood Center (CBC) blood drive at Fairmont High School Monday, April 1.  It was the perfect spirit for this Easter Monday, considering that the Firebirds were holding their campus drive during a slow week for high schools, since many are enjoying the first day of spring break.

Fairmont’s spring break was two weeks ago, so the timing was good for the spring blood drive, the second of the school year for FHS and one of the largest on CBC’s high school calendar.  As usual, juniors and seniors from Diane Patterson’s Allied Health class were staffing the Donor Café, and coordinator Roger Bauser was busy with his team of volunteers checking in students.

Support for the drive was terrific with 218 registrations, including 72 first-time donors, and 190 units donated for 109 percent of the day’s collection goal.

The lobby of Trent Arena is a bright and spacious place for a blood drive, and the space was needed. There were no empty seats in the waiting area, no empty screening booths, no empty donor beds – and no empty cookie platters in the Donor Café.  The students shared a goal of making difference by giving blood to someone in need.

Junior Meghan Gibson made her third lifetime donation, securing her CBC Red Cord honor for graduation.  But it was her first ever automated donation of double red blood cells.  “I was reading this paper we had about it,” she said. “You can save more lives because you can donate more.”

Qualifying for a Red Cord with his 3rd lifetime donation was also the goal of senior Michael Robison. “Definitely!” he said as he passed the time listening to music on his Galaxy smartphone.  He first donated as a freshman at Fairmont, next year he hopes to be enrolled in culinary school.

Next to Michael in the donor area, senior Nicole Cunningham made her 6th lifetime donation (she donates both at school and during the summer during CBC Kings Island days).  Next fall Nicole will be playing on the tennis team and studying visual arts and graphic design at Kent State University.  A good example of her talent is the stylized bicycle tattoo on her forearm that she designed.

“I designed it for my Dad and me,” she said.  They’re both blood donors, and they both ride bikes. “We call ourselves ‘Team Cunningham.’  He has the same tattoo.  He’s kind of worried that we won’t be able to ride again when I go off to school… but it’s not that far.”

Later Nicole joined fellow senior athlete Chelsea Welch for cookies in the café.  Chelsea was the starting point guard on the Fairmont Lady Firebirds state champion women’s basketball team and she has earned a full scholarship to play basketball next year at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

“This may sound cheesy,” Chelsea says about her motivation to donate, “but on my basketball team we wear a wrist band that says, ‘Give Back.’  It’s about teamwork and about helping the community.  This is a good opportunity for me to do something to help other people. We give to each other. That’s how we won the state.”

Lauren Rose is another senior who has already made six lifetime donations.  She spent the morning volunteering with her Allied Health classmates before donating.  She volunteers with the fire department and has gone along on first-responder calls.  She’ll be a pre-med student at University of Cumberland, KY next fall and hopes to become an emergency room physician.  “I’m not afraid of blood,” she says. “I’m used to it.”

Giving blood was new experience Monday for sophomore Tiffany Urmey.  “I was a little nervous at first,” she said about her first lifetime donation, “but I got over it!”  Congratulations to Fairmont High school for going the extra distance, and helping CBC get through the challenging week of spring break!

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