Debora Kremer Smith 100 LTD

GREENVILLE, Ohio – The life-sustaining cycle of giving and receiving blood is well known in the North Star’s Kremer family. A legacy of hemophilia across three generations has been a challenge and an inspiration.  It gave Debora Kremer Smith a particular sense of pride when she made her milestone 100th lifetime blood donation Jan. 9 at the Greater Greenville Ministerial Association blood drive.

Debora’s parents Carl and Carolyn Kremer raised a family of four on their dairy farm in North Star.  Debora’s brothers Dan and Kevin are both hemophiliacs.   A generation later, Debora’s sons Paul and Dean, ages 18 and 14, are hemophiliacs as well.

Dan and Kevin grew up in time when the clotting disorder was not well understood and treatments were still developing. It meant many journeys to Dayton in the dark of night for emergency care during bleeding incidents.

But it was also an opportunity for the community to learn about hemophilia and respond to the family by supporting blood drives.  At age 80, Carolyn has 118 lifetime donations and wants to keep donating. Debora followed her mom’s example as a donor, and became a nurse.

“I went to the Miami Valley School of Nursing, and those three years in school I was very consistent donating,” said Debora. She worked at Mercer Hospital in Coldwater and gave birth to her daughter Carla.  The challenge of raising two hemophiliac sons gave her a better understanding of what her mother faced.

“It was much easier than for my mother, but you still fear the big injury,” said Debora. “Boys are boys.”

Paul and Dean were able to play CYO basketball and fell in love with swimming, with coaching from their dad.

It’s sobering to know that the Kremer family can never completely ignore the heritage of hemophilia.  The disorder is a recessive trait passed on through the females. Dan’s daughter recently gave birth to a son, and he is a hemophiliac.

A generational change in the treatment is the wide use of factor concentrates that don’t have to come from human plasma donations.  “My boys’ treatment has been a protein that is artificial,” said Debora. “They don’t have to have the protein from plasma anymore.  My brothers would have blood donated for them.”

That circle of giving and receiving that made their community especially interconnected. For Debora, it’s a connection grown only stronger over the Donor for Life journey of 100 donations.



Piqua Knights of St. John1

As we march forward into the New Year we shouldn’t forget to thank sisters Brenda Bierly Reichard and Gail Bierly for adding their special holiday touch to the Dec. 28 Knights of St. John blood drive in Piqua.

The “pre-New Year’s” celebration was a fun theme and the holiday refreshments in the Donor Café were a big hit!  It was a true party, complete with homemade cookies, cheese balls, and sausages steaming in barbecue sauce, plus meat and cheese trays, and bags of caramel popcorn.

The blood drive was busy with 45 donors and 34 donations for 97 percent of collection goal, so their generosity was much appreciated.  Brenda and Gail were volunteer hosts, chatting with donors and serving the refreshments.

The inspiration came from their mother. “They said they grew up with a mom who always knew how to do things for other people,” said CBC’s Dana Puterbaugh.  The cookies came from their mom’s favorite recipe.

The sisters live in Greenville and both are dedicated blood donors. “Brenda happened to be at the OSU blood drive and said ‘Do you ever need anyone to help with blood drives?” said Dana.  She suggested the Knights of St. John blood drive and they quickly agreed, happy to go wherever there might be a need.  They saw it as an opportunity to honor their mother.

“Our mother was a resident of Brethren Retirement,” said Brenda. “I think around 1998, she found her chair lift remote and lifted herself to the point she fell out.  She broke her femur resulting in the need of blood.  That was actually the first time I was introduced to donating blood.”

Brenda has 69 lifetime donations and Gail has 107, and both are blood type O positive.  Both donated most recently at the Darke County Lions Clubs Teddy Bears & Friends Blood Drive on Dec. 12. It was Brenda’s sixth donation of the year and the fifth of the year for Gail.

“It’s a warm and cozy feeling when I receive the call stating where and when my blood was used,” said Brenda, who is also a kidney donor.  “If there’s a need and I can help out, I will!”

Piqua Knights of St. John2