‘SANTA’ BILL MORGAN MAKES ‘GIFT FROM THE HEART’ 200TH DONATION ON ST. VALENTINE’S DAY

Bill Morgan 200 LTD

DAYTON, Ohio – Centerville donor Bill Morgan is a familiar face at the Dayton Community Blood Center, especially when he delights fellow donors and staff by arriving in his Santa Claus costume to donate at Christmas time. But Bill chose a different holiday to mark his milestone 200th lifetime donation.

“I told my wife, ‘What better day to do my 200th than St. Valentine’s Day?’” Bill said as he donated platelets on St. Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. “She agreed, and I was on my way. I figured this is a gift from the heart to say the least!”

Bill is a retired IT manager who once worked as a professional Santa. He’s not as big as the typical jolly old elf, so he relies on ample padding under his Santa suit.  But Bill is the genuine item when it comes to his snowy white beard.  He debuted in 2000 at Springfield’s Upper Valley Mall with his late wife Bonnie as “Mrs. Claus.”

Bonnie passed way in 2010.  It was around that time that Bill became a platelet donor.  He continues to dress as Santa to donate at CBC, and will perform as Santa to help his favorite charities.  When the holiday season comes around he will become St. Nick to visit the NIC unit at Miami Valley Hospital.  He also plans to make his traditional visit to the St. Vincent de Paul Family Shelter to deliver presents to youngsters on Christmas Day.

Bill and his wife Evelyn were married in July of 2016 and she often accompanies him as Mrs. Claus. “I have a good time with it, and I’ll keep doing it until I can’t do it anymore,” he said.

He’s just as dedicated to his donation schedule. He tries to visit CBC every two weeks and drew closer to his 200th donation milestone by making 26 platelet and plasma donations in 2018.  “As long as you guys keep telling me you need my platelets,” he said, “I’ll keep showing up.”

Santa Bill Morgan 169 LTD

ST. VALENTINE’S DAY AT VISITATION CHURCH BLOOD DRIVE – AN IDEAL WAY TO HELP OTHERS

St. Valentine's Day blood drive

EATON, Ohio – The Delta Theta Tau service sorority has been hosting blood drives at the Church of the Visitation for 25 years.  The Feb. 14 blood drive came on St. Valentine’s Day and proved to be an ideal way to celebrate service to the community and helping save lives.

“It’s one of our commitments to the community,” said Sharon Spitler who is the blood drive coordinator and president of the sorority’s Theta Mu chapter. Sharon retired in 2015 after 38 years as Community Blood Center’s account representative for Preble County.

The sorority raises money for annual projects that include a college scholarship fund and the Preble County Christmas for Kids.  Sharon said the annual blood drive is their busiest event. Their hard work resulted in 85 whole blood donors and 72 whole blood donations, plus 13 platelet and plasma donations, for 103 percent of the collection goal.

The Church of the Visitation blood drive has traditionally included machines for platelet and plasma donations.  CBC’s goal in 2019 is to recruit new platelet and plasma donors and provide more opportunity for these donations at community blood drives.

Eaton donor John Wright wore a bright red St. Valentine’s Day t-shirt from his collection of CBC t-shirts as he gave platelets for his 184th lifetime donation Thursday.  John commonly donated whole blood six times a year at Preble County blood drives.  He started donating platelets three years ago.

“I feel like there’s a need for platelets right now,” said John. Platelets and plasma are vital for the treatment of cancer, trauma, organ transplant, and burn patients.

“It’s something I can do,” John said. “For the most part, I’ll probably never know the people that are helped from it.  One day it could be me.”

St. Valentine’s Day was a milestone day for Richmond donor Bill Pendley.  It was his first visit to the Church of the Visitation blood drive and his first time donating plasma.

“I’ve given blood before, but have never given plasma,” said Bill, who regularly donates whole blood at the Seton Catholic High School blood drives.  “They called me a couple days ago and asked if I could donate plasma and I said ‘yes!’”

It was an impactful decision because Bill’s blood type is both rare and the perfect type for plasma donations.  Less than one percent of the population is AB negative, and AB negative is the “universal donor” for plasma, meaning any patient in need can receive it.

Bill’s wife Marcia sat at Bill’s side as he donated and CBC phlebotomist Sarah Spears explained the procedure.  Bill said he didn’t hesitate, even though it was unfamiliar. “Not really!” he said, “But they said they needed it!”

Bill and Marcia Pendley

DONORS ACCUSTOMED TO CARNATIONS AT ZECHAR BAILEY, FLOWER PATCH ST. VALENTINE’S BLOOD DRIVE

Cris Eliker

Donors got a reminder that St. Valentine’s Day is at hand when they visited the Zechar Bailey blood drive on Feb. 12.  The Flower Patch again partnered with Community Blood Center and volunteers from Zechar Bailey Funeral Homes to thank donors with a free flower.

A colorful carnation for everyone who registers to donate has become a tradition at the holiday blood drive.  Despite a damp, blustery day the blood drive totaled 117 whole blood donors and 98 donations, plus a dozen platelet and plasma donations for 102 percent of the collection goal.

Donn Thornhill from Zechar Bailey helped organize volunteers then donated platelets for his 478th lifetime donation.   “It’s been going pretty well,” said Donn. “I don’t think we’ve had any no-shows.”

The monthly blood drives at the Greenville Church of the Brethren have traditionally included machines for platelet and plasma donations.  CBC’s goal in 2019 is to recruit new platelet and plasma donors and provide more opportunity for these donations at community blood drives.

“I come here every month,” said platelet donor Bill Coppess. “They would rather have my platelets!”

Greenville donor Kim Schmidt has been donating platelets exclusively since last May and made her milestone 80th donation – the equivalent of 10 gallons – on Tuesday. “They called and asked me because my platelet count is high,” said Kim. “I asked, ‘Which is more beneficial?’ and they said both are, but not everyone can give platelets.”

A platelet donation does take longer than a whole blood donation.  Chris Eliker was especially fast with her whole blood donation Tuesday. “Eight minutes!” she said. “It’s painless, quick, and you feel good afterwards because you helped someone else.”

It’s a similar feeling of satisfaction for Elizabeth Mendenhall, who drew closer to her goal of 100 donations with her 97th at Tuesday’s blood drive. “I feel better when I give blood,” she said. “I know I did something good, and I think it’s good for you.”

Before heading home donor Kyle Kagey chose a red carnation. “It’s going right for my wife!” he said.

“I love red,” said donor Angela Penny as she also chose a red carnation.  But getting an early start to St. Valentine’s Day doesn’t lower any expectations for the celebration with her husband on Thursday. “It doesn’t,” she said. “We’re going out to dinner… I just hope it doesn’t snow!”

Kyle Kagey

MILESTONE DONOR STEVE BERTLES INSPIRED BY WIFE BRAVERY

Steve Bertles 100 LTD

Centerville donor Steve Bertles gave credit to his wife Jackie, a breast cancer survivor, for inspiring him to reach his milestone 100th lifetime blood donation with Community Blood Center at the Feb. 1 “Super Bowl Friday” donor party at the Dayton CBC Donor Center.

Steve was among the 80 donors who answered the call on Super Bowl Friday to help boost the blood supply after three days of brutal cold and snow that forced the cancellation of 11 blood drives.

As a local police officer, Steve is accustomed to answering the call to help others.  He actually has more than 100 donations in his donor history.  He started donating in Texas where his career was in computer technology. He moved to the Miami Valley in 1997 and was soon donating with CBC.

October Breast Cancer Awareness Month has special significance for Steve. “My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2006,” he said. “She made sure I kept donating. She’s a 12-year survivor now.  Jackie can’t donate anymore, but for me it’s something I can do to help folks.”

Steve proudly shows off pictures of his family, including pictures of Jackie smiling bravely despite losing her hair to chemotherapy, and then fully recovered with the same proud smile.  Both of their children are in the military. Son Tyler is a helicopter pilot stationed in Korea and is married with two children. Their daughter Sara is a senior at the Air Force Academy.

Steve is a true “Donor for Life” who routinely donates whole blood at the Dayton CBC and at City of Fairborn mobile blood drives. He drew closer to his milestone with five donations in 2018 and reached 100 with his first donation of 2019.