MIAMI COUNTY, Ohio – The winner of the 2017 Community Blood Center/US Bank Troy-Piqua Challenge will be announced before tonight’s football game. No matter who wins, the rivals will face a pretty tough “Challenge” next year. That’s because it will be hard to top the record-setting success of the 20th anniversary blood drive.
Donor support was the highest in the 20-year history of this cross-county rival blood drive. Overall, 419 students and community members “voted” by registering to donate at the high school blood drives on Oct. 24 and the US Bank community blood drives on Oct. 26. There were 155 first-time donors and 356 pints of blood donated. Each new benchmark was the highest in the history of the Troy-Piqua Challenge.
US BANK PIQUA BLOOD DRIVE
Piqua is the defending Troy-Piqua Challenge Blood Drive champion, and US Bank Piqua Manager Emily Shawler is a proud Piqua alumnus. She went into Thursday’s community blood drive determined to hold tight to the Challenge trophy on display in the bank.
Her team wore matching “Troy vs. Piqua” sweatshirts with their name on the front and their teller number on the back. “We have some who are from Troy, but they’re all on the Piqua team now!” said Emily.
Team member Emily Adams convinced her sister-in-law Jeannie Adams to vote for Piqua. “She talked me into it because she works here, so I’m a bonus for you!” said Jeannie, whose son plays on the freshman football team at Troy. “I’m still doing a good thing!”
Paula Kuhn has a son that plays for Piqua. She was one of the 29 first-time donors at the Piqua community blood drive. Doug Stengel is a long-time Piqua fan and wore his 2006 Piqua High State Division II Championship sweatshirt as he donated.
Destine Wale is a 2013 Piqua graduate who brought along her three-year old daughter Arianna as she made her first lifetime donation. “My mother has multiple sclerosis,” she said of her motivation to become a donor. “That has opened my eyes to it a lot. I see how this helps so much.”
Bretnie Collum is a young mom who started donating at Piqua High and was a CBC “Red Cord” graduate in 2012. “Every time I donate I get a phone call saying where my blood was used,” she said. “If my daughter was in that same position it would be nice to know someone helped her.”
US BANK TROY BLOOD DRIVE
Troy fans went into the Thursday community blood drive at US Bank Troy “trailing by a touchdown” in the 2017 Troy-Piqua Challenge because of Piqua’s seven-vote lead after the Tuesday high school blood drives. Troy High students Hannah Setser and Evelyn Plunkett couldn’t donate Tuesday, but rallied for the Trojans by donating at the US Bank.
“I had a field trip that day,” said Evelyn. “I really wanted to go to the blood drive, and my teacher told me about this.”
Kim Bundy is a 1981 Troy High alumnus who keeps the Troy-Piqua Challenge on her calendar. “You’ve got to do the Troy vote if you are a Trojan,” she said, “and I am a Trojan!”
Alicia Love is a Piqua grad with a daughter at Troy. “She said, ‘Mom, you’re a Trojan now,” said Alicia. But it was her father’s battle against cancer that motivated Alicia to try to donate for the first time.
“My dad was sick in January and almost died,” she said. “He had to have three blood transfusions. He was at The James (Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center) for a week and is still going through treatment. This is perfect.”
US Bank Troy Manager Deborah Wildermuth was a Challenge winner when she managed the Piqua US Bank branch, and has helped Troy win three of the last five Challenges. On Thursday, she boarded the Bloodmobile, rolled up sleeve, and helped the cause again.
“I do this every year because I believe in it,” said Deborah. “I have a passion for helping people.”