CENTERVILLE, Ohio – It was back during the heat of summer that Alisha Burcham began recruiting donors for a new blood drive to celebrate the City of Centerville’s 50th anniversary and also support her infant son Jake. Snowflakes were flying Monday, Nov. 26 as donors filled the Centerville Police Department and Alisha talked about Jake looking forward to a bright Christmas.
Alisha is a Centerville staff engineer who saw the 50th anniversary blood drive with Community Blood Center as a chance to honor the past and “pay it forward.” Jake was born Nov. 7, 2017 after a troubled pregnancy and had four blood transfusions before he was two months old.
Jake received his first transfusions when Alisha was still pregnant as treatment for hemolytic anemia. He was born Nov. 7, 2017 and spent six days in the neonatal intensive care unit. “So to pay it forward and maybe save someone else’s son, I wanted to hold a blood drive,” Alisha said.
She recruited friends and co-workers, and signed up to make her first lifetime donation. “Probably 70 percent are donating for the first time,” she said. “It’s been going well. We’ve had quite a few walk-ins.”
Her hard work paid off with 44 donors, including 13 first-time donors and 37 blood donations.
“This has been on my calendar for months,” said donor Jennifer Wilder, a former co-worker who is now with the City of Oakwood. “She sent me a reminder and I wanted to make sure I did it. She was pregnant when I was working there. She went through a lot and I know it means a lot to her.”
“I signed up during the summer,” said University of Dayton senior Taylor Schindler, a former summer intern who made her first lifetime donation Monday. “That’s the reason I signed on. It’s different when it’s personal.”
“It’s hard to say no,” said Centerville staff worker C.T. Houser, as he made his first donation. “Nothing wrong with giving a little bit of blood. It’s needed.”
Alisha was glad to report that Jake celebrated his first birthday in good health and with a big plastic “Cozy Coupe” car. “He could live in it,” she said. “He never wants out!” As for his second Christmas, “He notices the lights probably the most and loves the food!”
The blood drive is one of Centerville’s final 50th anniversary events before the grand anniversary celebration Sunday, Dec. 2 at the Centerville Tree Lighting Ceremony.