GREENVILLE, Ohio – Bursts of light snow sometimes darkened the skies Tuesday, Dec. 12 while wind gusts made the wise men sway in the Nativity scene outside the Greenville Church of the Brethren. But inside it was all sunshine for the 22nd annual Darke County Lions Clubs “Teddy Bear & Friends Blood Drive.”
The Arcanum, Gettysburg, Greenville and Pitsburg Lions Clubs worked together like a reindeer team, encouraging blood donations and remembering children spending the holidays in the hospital. The Lions raised money to purchase more than 150 stuffed animals for children at Wayne HealthCare. Donors were invited to sign gift tags and send well wishes.
CBC’s Dana Puterbaugh presented LifeSaving Ambassadors Club Gold Awards to each club for the success of the 2016 blood drive. Support for this year’s Teddy Bear blood drive grew by 17 percent with 129 donors, 112 whole blood donations and 11 platelet and plasma donations for 112 percent of goal.
“We’ve been doing this for quite a few years,” said Arcanum Lions Club volunteer Dick Mathias as his club took its turn volunteering in the Donor Café. “There have been a few members who have passed away. We took over and have been doing it this long. It’s been a great thing. We enjoy helping others.”
The Arcanum Lions also raised $4,300 for a donation to the pediatric cancer unit at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “You see those kids coming, and they have cancer,” said Dick. “It’s a good thing to do.”
“It’s by first year helping with the blood drive,” said Pitsburg Lions Club volunteer Cristoph Keller. “It’s been interesting. I’ve never seen this operation!”
Cristoph joined Arcanum Lions volunteer Bill Campbell at the stuffed animals table. They offered donors a choice of stuffed animal, invited donors to sign a gift tag and attached it to the toy.
“I have bought bears for my granddaughter,” said Ansonia donor Tim Miller who held up a brown teddy. “I saw this one sitting there and it looked like something she would like.”
“I’ve done this a few years,” said donor Michelle Nixon. “I remember one year they had a huge stuffed sheep. It was really cool!”
Kathy Gootee from Greenville also chose a stuffed barnyard friend. “I picked out a cow,” she said. “I grew up on a farm and I have an affinity for cows!”
Greenville’s Tanya Ryan and Dustin Hufford sat in the Donor Café and talked about how they formed a friendship when they found out they were both donors. “I was a donor, and she was a donor too, so we started coming together,” said Dustin.
“It’s a great cause,” Tanya said about the stuffed animal gifts to the children. They pledged to continue supporting Greenville blood drives. “We really enjoy the phone calls saying your blood was used to help someone in the hospital, maybe four days after your donation,” she said.