Friends Kate Wassum, Noelle Parziale

KETTERING, Ohio – Archbishop Alter High School followed rival Fairmont High with a campus blood drive Tuesday, Nov. 7 to complete their united effort to help others in the third annual “Unity in the Community” campaign.

“Unity in the Community” is a partnership between Fairmont and Archbishop Alter High Schools, Community Blood Center, and Universal 1 Credit Union.  Universal 1 will award $500 to each high school for holding fall blood drives. The schools will combine the awards and present a $1,000 gift to charity at the Alter-Fairmont basketball game.

The schools take turns designating the charity to receive the $1,000 Unity award.  This year the Fairmont Student Government has chosen Camp Kesem at The University of Cincinnati, a summer camp and peer support program for children with parents fighting cancer.

The Alter CURE club is the student sponsor organization for Alter blood drives. It was founded as a cancer research advocacy and support group for students with family members fighting cancer. “We have people in our club who have family battling different diseases,” said CURE President and blood drive volunteer Jessie Haaker.  “When it started cancer was our main cause but we also try to bring awareness to other causes.”

Last year the Alter community chose the new “Brigid’s Path” treatment facility to receive the 2016 Unity award. At the time it was still under construction.  It has since opened and is now serving babies suffering from addiction from prenatal drug exposure.

The Alter blood drive totaled 66 donors, including 40 first-time donors and 55 donations for 110 percent of goal.  For many of the new donors “family” was a theme of the day.

“Everyone in my family donates,” said first-time donor Susan Issenmann. “I’m the youngest.”

“I wanted to take part in it because my sister donated and my family does,” said 16-year-old sophomore Molly Knebel, also a first-time donor. “It seems like the right thing to do.”

“My dad always gives blood and my mom used to,” said first-time donor Emma Gehret. “I said to myself, ‘I can do that.’”

Friendship was also a valuable source of support.  Sophomore first-time donor Kate Wassum and Noelle Parziale, a senior donating for the second time, were in back-to-back beds. They reached over their heads to hold hands as they donated.

“We’ve known each other since grade school.” said Noelle. “It was good to have her nearby!” said Kate.

Molly Knebel, CBC Katelyn Feeser

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