KETTERING, Ohio – Helping save lives through blood donations… searching for a cure for cancer… improving lives in the Kettering community. All these causes came together Friday, Nov. 20 at Archbishop Alter High School’s Unity in the Community Blood Drive.
The former “Kettering Challenge Blood Drive” between rivals Alter and Fairmont High School is now part of the “Unity in the Community” campaign partnership with Community Blood Center (CBC) and Universal 1 Credit Union.
The rivals are no longer trying to outdo each other in blood donations. Instead, Universal 1 Credit Union awards $500 to each school for hosting a blood drive. The schools will combine the awards and present a $1,000 donation to charity at the Dec. 22 Alter-Fairmont basketball game.
The Alter High School blood drive also has a new student sponsor organization. The newly formed CURE club (Cancer, Understanding, Remembering, Everyone) is a cancer research advocacy and support group. Members helped recruit donors and volunteered Friday with check-in and the Donor Café.
Friday’s blood drive was supported by 63 donors, including 35 first-time donors, resulting in 57 blood donations. The combined Alter-Fairmont Unity in the Community Blood Drive total is now 351 donors, 145 first-time donors, and 303 donations.
“My grandfather lived nine more years because of people who donated blood,” said Alter senior Sydney Bailey, who made her third lifetime donation Friday. “He died last year, and I still do it for people who need blood. I’m happy we’re doing this. It’s really cool. I’m glad I’m a part of that.”
Fairmont held its Unity in the Community blood drive on Oct. 30. The schools will alternate naming a charity to receive the $1,000 award from Universal 1 Credit Union. As host of the Dec. 22 basketball game, Fairmont chose this year’s recipient. The award will go to the “Community Summer Food Program” sponsored by Partners for Healthy Youth in Kettering.
The former “Kettering Challenge” blood drive on July 10 served as a kick-off to the Unity in the Community campaign. Many students donated at the summer blood drive, and again at their school blood drives this fall. “I think it’s a great thing,” said Alter blood drive coordinator and school nurse Jeanne Kernan. “This is the third step in our Unity campaign. It’s a positive thing Alter can do, and it doesn’t have to be a competition.”
Kernan was also impressed by the CURE club’s volunteer work as blood drive sponsors. Club president Sarah Miozzi is one of several club members who have a family member battling cancer. They were motivated to form the club when a classmate had to quit the Alter dance team when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.
“She had to put her life on hold because of her mom,” said Sarah. “We wanted to do this for Alter support, not just in our school, but outside in the community. It’s students showing they want to be the ones to help.”