Seton Catholic High School Blood Drive Award

RICHMOND, Indiana – Seton Catholic High School may seem small with less than 100 students old enough to be blood donors, but it stands tall in blood drive excellence.  Community Blood Center honored SCHS for the second year in a row with a $1,000 High School Leadership Grant.

CBC Account Representative Melinda Frech presented the 2015-2016 award for “Highest Percentage of Blood Drive Participation” to Principal Rick Ruhl during the school’s morning assembly on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

Seton Catholic High School had only 96 eligible donors in 2015-2016, but they enthusiastically supported the school’s three blood drives with participation by 152 percent of enrollment.  It was the third CBC High School Leadership Grant awarded to Seton Catholic in the last two years.  The school won two grants last year in the categories of “Second Highest Percentage of Enrollment” and “Most Improved.”

“As a Catholic school we continually try to help our young people serve those in need, to love serving, to love God, and love others,” said Principal Ruhl. “We see blood drives as a very visible way for them to learn to do it.”

Faculty member Shaunna Stamm is the blood drive coordinator and Student Council is the student sponsor group under faculty advisor John Markward.

In the 2015-2016 school year 118 high schools hosted 226 blood drives in CBC’s 15-county region of eastern Indiana and western Ohio.  CBC annually awards five High School Leadership Grants.  Other 2015-2016 recipients are Wayne High School for “Most Donors,” Butler Tech Bioscience Center for “Second Highest Percentage of Participation,” Warren County Career Center for “Most Improved,” and Fairmont High School for “Red Cord Excellence.”

Seton Catholic will host its first blood drive of the school year on Dec. 12.


David and Doug Stammen

SIDNEY, Ohio – Donors had to make tough choices when they voted for their favorite public safety and emergency healthcare teams at the Wilson Health “Heroes Behind the Badge Blood Drive” Tuesday, Aug. 23 in Sidney, but in the end it was simple.  Every vote was ultimately dedicated to patients like David, a local teenager surviving lymphoma, or Anna, a little toddler battling cancer.

The “Heroes” challenge started as a way to recruit donors to a new blood drive at the Wilson Health Professional Building that would come at a time when many donors in the regular rotation of Community Blood Center blood drives might not be eligible.

The competition was spirited and transparent.  CBC’s Kathy Pleiman set out plastic ballot boxes that made it easy to see how each team was doing in the voting.  Sidney Police claimed bragging rights and the championship plaque with 38 donor votes, followed by the Sidney Fire Department with 29, Healthcare with 22, and EMS with 18.

The blood drive totaled 132 registrations, including 105 donations and 20 first-time donors for 117 percent of the collection goal.

“I’m voting healthcare,” said Wilson Health lab worker June Brunswick, a 56-time donor, as she placed her ticket in the ballot box, “but I’m also an EMT with the Osgood squad!”

Police Sgt. David Godwin cast his ballot for his department after donating. “It’s something I’d like to do more, but I can’t when I’m on duty,” he said. “But I’m on vacation this week so it worked out perfect!”

“We pick on each other, it’s a fun rivalry,” said Sidney Firefighter Doug Stammen. “It doesn’t matter who wins.  The people who get the blood are the real winners.” He nodded toward his son David and added, “People like him.”

David was a sophomore at Houston High School last December when he was diagnosed with Anaplastic large-cell lym­phoma.  “It was not good,” said Doug. “They told us get our affairs in order.”

David turned 16 in the hospital. “My first round of chemotherapy was at the beginning of January, the day after my birthday,” he said. The Houston community rallied around him with fundraisers, including a 5K race that raised $18,000.  David completed treatment in May and is cancer free.

Doug made his first lifetime donation at Tuesday’s blood drive, and David was there for support. “He received blood and platelets several times,” said Doug.  “It’s my chance to give back.”

Robin Eisert works in cardiopulmonary services at Wilson Health and made her first blood donation Tuesday.  It was a way to support her 21-month-old granddaughter Anna who was a year old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, one of the most common childhood cancers.

“She’s had tons of transfusions” said Robin. “My daughter-in-law has been asking people to donate.”  Anna has undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment, surgery to remove tumors, and a stem cell transplant.  But photos of Anna’s happy face give Robin hope.

“It’s a privilege to support blood donations,” said Wilson Health Chief Operating Officer Greg Long, who made his milestone 20th donation at Tuesday’s blood drive.  “It’s important. Blood is a vital resource in the service we provide to our patients.  Being able to help make sure people have the resources they need is important to us as caregivers.”

Robin Eisert 1 LTD


Jones family with CBC staff

EATON, Ohio – Ten-week old Jeremiah Jones slept quietly in his baby carrier Saturday morning, Aug. 20 while his mother Mindy Jones greeted every donor at the Eaton First Church of God blood drive.  If they didn’t know about the life of Vincent Jones before they came, they left with a new place in their hearts for a young dad whose son’s birth was a parting gift.

Saturday’s blood drive was dedicated to Vincent, who died June 24 after a rapid, nine-week battle with leukemia. Jeremiah was born just days earlier on June 11.  “My water broke in Vincent’s hospital room,” said Mindy. “Luckily, the baby was two weeks early.”

When Jeremiah was born, Vincent was too weak to sit in a chair. “He got to lift him up and kissed him a few times,” said Mindy. “His spirit was willing, but his body couldn’t do much more.”

She credits blood transfusions for helping Vincent live long enough to see his son. “He was given well over 50 blood products or more, I lost count,” she said. “It’s because of people who cared enough to go out of their way. With every transfusion I prayed for the donors, for what they were giving him.”

Blood donation has become part of Vincent’s legacy.  Saturday’s blood drive had 39 registrations and 32 donations for 160 percent of the collection goal.

Vincent’s fight against blood cancer inspired donors to support the Eaton Church of the Brethren blood drive on May 26. “We thought he would make it,” said Mindy. “But he started going downhill in June.”

Mindy spent time with donors at the First Church of God blood drive telling Vincent’s story.  She said he was just 32 year old with a new job, a pregnant wife and their three-year-old son Gabriel when the ordeal began with some unexplained bruising. The drove to the hospital holding hands, and to raise her spirits Vincent joked, “At least I will get to go bald like I always wanted!”

“It was a long, nine-week journey, more emotionally overwhelming than I can describe,” she said.


“I’ve never given blood before, I’m a first-time donor,” said Ken McWilliams.  Ken and his wife Annette came from Gratis to support the blood drive to honor the young couple they knew as close friends.

Ken met Mindy when she took an EMT training class he helped teach. When she joined the Gratis rescue squad, she was required to spend weekend nights on call.  “We told her there was no way she was going to stay at the squad house by herself,” said Annette. “You’re staying with us.”

Mindy started dating Vincent, and he insisted on accompanying her on any emergency call. “Just bring him over too,” said Annette.  They were soon married and “camping out in the living room.”

Mindy and Vincent had been married seven years when he became ill. “I wasn’t ready for that news at all,” said Ken.


A special moment at Saturday’s blood drive came when Mindy met Michelle Chappell and her daughter Jessica, who has a twin sister Julieanna. Jessica donated last year at Preble-Shawnee High School when she turned 16 and made her second lifetime donation Saturday.

“Her twin sister was sick at birth,” explained Michelle. “She needed a transfusion, and I was so scared. I watched them put a few ounces of blood into her body. Her eyes opened and I got to hold her. The next day she was off the ventilator and two weeks later I got to bring her home.”

Jessica was inspired to give because of her sister’s story, and even more after learning about Vincent’s struggle and Jeremiah’s birth.  “I wanted to help people,” she said. “Not just like her, but people everywhere.”

Mindy is now committed to making the blood drive in Vincent’s honor an annual event.  “She’s a very strong, determined woman in everything she does,” said her father Joey Williams, who donated Saturday.

“My goal is to thank everyone that participates,” she said. “This is in his memory and his honor, and to teach the boys about giving to others. It’s a ripple effect. I want them to grow up knowing that’s what life is about.”

Vincent, Mindy Jones with newborn son Jeremiah


Fred Haller 200 LTD

Beavercreek donor Fred Haller reached a remarkable milestone on his “Donor for Life” journey with his Aug. 15 platelet donation at the Dayton Community Blood Center.  His donor history shows it was his milestone 200th donation, but Fred considers it more of a “tag team” effort with his wife Sarah.

Fred started donating in Cleveland and moved to Beavercreek in 1987.  He retired four and half years ago after a career in accounting and 22 years with Pfizer.  “Prior to that, I did it sporadically because I traveled frequently,” Fred said.

He was a whole blood donor for many years, but switched to donating platelets and plasma exclusively in 1998.  He now keeps a robust schedule of two apheresis donations a month, one a platelet donation and the other platelets and plasma.

“It’s something I can do,” he said. “Because I have the time, and it’s always good to give back.”

But on the day of his milestone accomplishment, his thoughts were about his wife Sarah and how she has been part of the milestone.

“My wife was a routine donor,” he said.  “But she has a condition that prevented her from donating a few years ago. “  Sarah had to stop in 2003 after her 169th lifetime donation.  It was not easy for her.

“It was important for her to donate, especially to help cancer patients, because she was a cancer patient,” he said.  “When she had to stop donating a few years ago, but I told her, ‘You have to stop donating but don’t worry. You just pass the baton to me and I’ll pick up the slack.’”



Lorelei Wahlrab 100 LTD

Kettering donor Lorelei Wahlrab was inspired by her father to become a blood donor and she honored his memory when she made her milestone 100th lifetime donation Aug. 12 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.

Lorelei came to the Miami Valley from New Hartford, Connecticut to work in marketing and advertising for the Yeck Brothers Company.  She has a son, a daughter and two grandchildren.

“I use to give in Connecticut, we had blood drives at work,” she said.  “We moved here in ’74. I was raising kids and I didn’t start donating again until the ‘80’s.  It was right after I lost my dad.  My dad always gave blood, and it’s just something I do in his memory.”

Now she hopes her own Donor for Life journey will encourage others. “I don’t mind doing it,” said Lorelei. “It’s a wonderful thing to do. Everybody should do it.”


Thomas Lees 100 LTD jacketThomas Lees is a big fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Centerville Elks.  He graduated from OSU in 1955, the year his fraternity brother Howard “Hopalong” Cassady won the Heisman Trophy.  Thomas also has a grandson on the golf team at CHS, so he proudly wore an Elks golf shirt when he made his milestone 100th lifetime blood donation Aug. 10 at the Dayton Community Blood Center.

Thomas and his wife Nancy have six children – all of which graduated from CHS, and two from OSU. They also have 17 grandchildren (14 of them CHS graduates) and three great-grandchildren.

Thomas has been a loyal Buckeye fan since his student days at OSU in the Air Force ROTC. He was a fellow Sigma Chi with Hopalong, who he remembers as “a great guy.”  He’s been an OSU football season-ticket holder for 47 years.  “The kids get the football tickets now,” he said, but a highlight for him was following the Buckeyes to Pasadena for the ’97 Rose Bowl.

Thomas was born in Piqua and grew up in Dayton.  After college he spent three years in the Air Force and another four in the reserves, rose to the rank of captain, and was briefly called back to active duty during the Cuban missile crisis.  He spent 36 years with GM’s Inland Division in Dayton and retired in ’91.

“I was excited about it,” he said when it came time for his milestone 100th donation.   As an O negative blood type, he is a “universal donor” and that compels him to keep donating.  “That’s good for both of us,” he said, noting that everyone can receive O negative blood, but O negative patients can only receive O negative.  “My dad was an O negative,” he said.

Finally, as someone who has raised a family of OSU and CHS fans, Thomas feels a duty to children.  He’s both a “universal donor” and a “baby donor,” someone who has not been exposed to cytomegalovirus, or CMV.  Hospitals prefer to use CMV negative blood for pediatric units to ensure the safety of blood transfusions to newborns.

As Thomas said, “It helps the babies, who pretty much need it.”

Alaska Fun Fact: Planes, Trains & Sled Dogs?

Alaska’s mountains, glaciers and vast wilderness, while offering breath-taking natural beauty, also present barriers to travel. In fact, getting around in Alaska can be a little like getting home for Neal Page in the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. In the movie, Page who’s played by Steve Martin goes on a “three-day odyssey of misadventures” trying to get home in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Alaska has, out of necessity, lots of options in transportation that make venturing into the state quite… well, adventurous.

Planes: The only practical way to reach many parts of rural Alaska is by plane. Alaska has about six times as many pilots and 14 times as many aircraft per capita as the rest of the U.S. The Lake Hood seaplane base in Anchorage, one of 138 in the state, is the busiest and largest in the world with an annual average of 190 take offs and landings daily (as many as 400 a day in the summer months).


Trains: The Alaska Railroad which is owned and operated by the state offers year round passenger and freight service chugging along 470 miles of track between the large port cities and hauling nearly a half million travelers a year. The railroad runs daily express trains from Anchorage to Denali during the summer months.

The privately owned White Pass and Yukon Route provides passenger service between Skagway, Alaska and White Horse, Yukon Territory. The railway maintains one of the steepest railroad grades in North America, climbing to 2865 feet at White Pass in about 20 miles.


Automobiles: Driving in Alaska’s major cities is much like driving in any major U.S. city. However, the wide open terrain of Alaska with its weather extremes and enormous distances between populated areas make road-based infrastructure less practical. Highways in the state range from six-lane freeways to one lane gravel roads. In fact, less than 50% of Alaska’s highway system roads are paved. There are highways linking key locations but by the time you get from point A to point B, you may be on a dirt road.

Road to Denali

Boats: Alaska has a marine highway system operating 3,500 miles of ferry routes along the coastline connecting 28 Alaska towns including Juneau, the only U.S. state capital “off the road system. No roads lead to Juneau because it is sandwiched between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The only way in is by air or sea. Alaska’s ferry system runs regularly throughout Southeast Alaska weaving through the misty labyrinths of the Inside Passage and many seasoned tourists recommend it over the big cruise.

Dog Sled: Snowmobiles have largely replaced dog sleds as transportation in the most remote and rural areas of Alaska, particularly in the arctic. But dogsledding is widely available as a recreational activity and dogsled racing is still celebrated in the state with the running of the 1,150-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome. For visiting dog lovers, there are kennel tours, dogsled excursions and opportunities to meet Iditarod racers and their champion dogs.

Community Blood Center invites you to register to donate blood at any of its locations or blood drives to be entered to win a trip for two to Alaska. For more information visit GivingBlood.org. To schedule a donation appointment visit DonorTime.com or call 1-800-388-4483.