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

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