ImageDon’t late the final blaze of summer fool you.  August is fading fast, classrooms are crowded, and just as the new high school football season kicks off, a new year of Community Blood Center (CBC) high school blood drives is underway.

The Milton-Union Bulldogs helped lead the way Thursday, Aug. 29 with their first blood drive of the school year.  The new Milton-Union High school with its blazing red and black painted gym is just a year old and it was gleaming for the first blood drive.  Registration tables, screening booths and donor beds were set up in the gym.  The Donor Café was just outside the gym in the entrance way near the giant wall painting of the Bulldog mascot.

Volunteers from the National Honor Society worked the Donor Café, handing out chilled fruit drinks and cookies to their classmates. Milton-Union students who registered to donate Thursday were among the first to receive the new CBC high school blood drive t-shirt.

The shirt has a technology theme, inspired by the winning “Lead the Way Creative Scholarship” blood drive campaign designed by Russia High School 2013 graduate Shana Meyer.  CBC borrowed the hashtag from Shana’s “#Saving Lives – Is Always Trending!” campaign.  The 2013-14 CBC t-shirt features the slogan “#Blood Donor – Let’s Start a Trend.”

Senior NHS volunteer Sarah Black helped donor Elizabeth Busse find a size small t-shirt in the Café.  Elizabeth made her fourth lifetime blood donation at Thursday’s drive and is already qualified for the CBC Red Cord Honor Program for graduating seniors.

“The first time I gave blood I passed out,” she said. “That was my sophomore year.  I was fine with it!  I don’t think I ate enough and I kinda passed out.  But today I had cereal!”

Next to Elizabeth in the donor area was fellow senior Stacie Swartz who made her sixth lifetime donation.  Stacie was interested to learn about the Lead the Way Creative Scholarship.  Her ambition is to study forensic science at Virginia Commonwealth University or the University of Nebraska and a $1,000 Lead the Way scholarship would be welcome.

Stacie chatted with Sarah at the Donor Café about the turn-out for the first Milton-Union blood drive of the year. “It’s gone pretty well,” said Sarah. Stacie agreed, but she noted the absence of student-athletes. “If there weren’t so many sporting events today there would be a lot more people,” she said.

Overall, the blood drive was busy with 35 registrations, including 12 first-time donors, for a total of 27 life-saving donations.  Thanks to coordinator and NHS sponsor Jodi Hill there were plenty of NHS volunteers. Stacie and Sarah were joined at the Café table by senior Trey Barnes and juniors Nick Hissong, Josie Berberick and Bethany Benkert.

The final donor of the day was junior Jake Blevins, who made his first lifetime donation. Jake plays on the Bulldog tennis team in the spring.  He injured a knee last year and needed surgery, so he says he is used to needles.  With a new year and the first blood drive of the fall, the timing seemed right for Jake to become a donor.  “I just felt like donating!” he said.


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