It’s been a long, hard winter for local school districts. The dreaded “Polar Vortex” has taken a snow blower to school calendars, chewing up calamity days and scrambling schedules. The delays and cancellations have also impacted blood donations, but Troy Christian High School wasn’t about to let that happen to its campus blood drive Tuesday, Feb. 25 with Community Blood Center (CBC).
Blood drive organizer Meg Conover with her homemade cookies for the Donor Cafe.
“It’s been a tough winter,” said French teacher and blood drive coordinator Becky Lawrence. “”It’s been slow getting organized because we’ve been in and out of school, and that makes it hard to let the kids and their families know for recruiting.”
Troy Christian, with only about 250 high school students, has a reputation for being small but tough. The Eagles wrestling program has a national reputation, won the state championship last year and will compete for another title this weekend in Columbus. Appointments to donate were running behind the projected goal in the final week before the blood drive, but senior National Honor Society vice president and blood drive organizer Meg Conover decided to go for a take down.
“We have a chapel service on Friday,” said Becky Lawrence. “Meg promoted it, got up and shared. Then she made a one-call to teachers and staff. When they hear a student’s voice they wake up and pay attention. ” The result was 43 registrations, including 32 first-time donors, and 32 blood donations for 146% of the collection goal.
“I thought it was a good leadership opportunity,” said Meg, who took over the blood drive organizer role from a friend after she graduated. Her co-organizer is junior and fellow NHS member Haley Miller. “I’m not eligible to donate blood, so I wanted to help,” said Haley. “I bought juice and Meg actually made all the cookies Sunday night!”
The Donor Café in the Troy Christian gym featured all sorts of cookies and brownies that Meg churned out assembly line style. “It was, ‘Oh I’ve got a lot of cookies to make Sunday night!”
Even another visit from the Polar Vortex Monday night with more cold and a light snow couldn’t stop the momentum. “We had a really amazing student response,” said Becky Lawrence. “They jumped right in, especially all the first-time donors. They were a little nervous, but willing.”
“I’ve always wanted to do it,” said first-time donor Jessica Kiefer. “I wasn’t old enough last year. My sister did it and I thought it would be cool to do. It went good!”
“It’s a chance to save a life,” said junior Jason Lentz, also a first-time donor. “They announced it every day and I thought I could probably do it,” said first-time donor Alliyah Lee. “It’s good – not as bad as I thought!”
The harsh winter and all the athletes involved in state playoffs weren’t the only challenges to the Troy Christian blood drive. Many students take part in annual mission trips, and travel overseas can often mean temporary deferments from donating blood.
“I wanted to do it before, but I went on a mission trip to Nicaragua for school and to Peru with my church,” said Lexy Current, who made her first lifetime donation Tuesday. She did volunteer work at orphanages in both countries, but was deferred from donating until her senior year. “I did it!” she said.
Next winter will be different for Lexy. She’ll still be a blood donor, but she’ll be far away from the Polar Vortex attending Biola University, a small Christian college in sunny Southern California. “I like it over there!” she said.