RICHMOND, Indiana – Easter came early this year, and so did the Richmond High School spring blood drive. Student Council is still learning how to be a sponsor, but didn’t hesitate to reschedule the blood drive for Good Friday, March 25 when asked by Community Blood Center.
It was a month earlier than planned, but it provided a much-needed high school blood drive during a time when many schools are on spring break.
Despite the challenges of a rescheduled date and the holiday weekend, the blood drive drew strong support with 105 donors, including 43 first-time donors and 75 donations.
Peer Helpers was the long-time student group sponsor of the RHS blood drives until the Peer Information Center for Teens lost its funding last year. “We stepped in to take their place,” said Student Council President David Sexton. “I’m proud that Student Council was able to do this. It’s been great as a program this year, and anything we can be involved in for our school is really great.”
The fall blood drive went well with 128 donors, 70 first-time donors and 94 donations for 99 percent of goal. But a new challenge came when organizers learned the spring blood drive’s April 21 date conflicted with state testing schedule.
“We had to move it up a month,” said Hunter Lambright, math teacher and Student Council advisor. “We had two and a half weeks before we started signing kids up. But the Peer Helpers were very good at what they do here, and it was just a matter of coordinating. Plus (Red Devil Mentor Coordinator) Tre Ronne was at every lunch period getting kids signed up.”
CBC’s Melinda Frech suggested Good Friday for the new date. There were no mobile blood drives scheduled that day due to the holiday, and it was the beginning of a full week of no high school blood drives because of spring break. Luckily, Richmond High’s spring break isn’t until the week of April 4. “It didn’t even cross our minds,” said Hunter.
Student Council went to work with a goal of 95 registrations, and by Good Friday had 119 appointments. Students seemed to embrace the opportunity to donate during a time of particular need. “I wanted to feel like I was helping out,” said sophomore Lauren Pierce after making her first lifetime donation. “And it’s giving to someone instead of receiving.”
Senior Dre’ Davis, a star receiver on the Red Devil football team, gave his milestone fifth lifetime donation at the Good Friday blood drive. He gathered with his friends for cookies and juice in the Donor Café. Teammate Ryan Shuminoff, a Student Council officer, also made his fifth donation while teammate Garrett Byrd made his second.
Teammate Kobe Walker, who made his third lifetime donation Friday, still wears a cast from breaking his thumb and playing hurt nearly all season. More painful for this group of friends is the memory of losing in the state playoffs on a last-second “Hail Mary” touchdown.
Dre’ may still remember that disappointment when he tries out for the Ball State football team next year, but he knows giving blood is a far different way of answering a prayer.
“You get to save lives – that’s the point,” said Dre’. “I had a great uncle that needed blood. He’s my grandmother’s brother, and she gives blood all the time. She was able to donate for him.”
Senior Cody Jablonski was encouraged by one of his teachers to make his first lifetime donation. “This is my final year and I want to do something,” he said. “This is cool. It’s for our school, but more important is it helps someone who needs blood.”