Maya Wills was a dedicated donor and advocate for blood donations during her years at Houston High School. This fall finds Maya away from her Sidney home, now a freshman at Bowling Green State University. But she’s still inspiring area high school donors with her award-winning message “Share Your Life… Share Your Blood.”
Maya entered her “Share Your Life… Share Your Blood” blood drive recruitment campaign in the 2016 Community Blood Center/Vectren Lead The Way Creative Scholarship competition last spring. She was one of five seniors from across CBC’s 15-county region awarded a $1,000 college scholarship.
The judges were so impressed with her empathetic slogan and original artwork that her design was chosen for the t-shirt given to donors this fall at all CBC high school blood drives. It’s a rare honor for a scholarship winner’s complete design to be used for the following year’s high school t-shirt.
“I am truly ecstatic that my design was chosen for so many high schoolers to wear!” said Maya. “The theme “Share your life, share your blood” means so much to me, and I hope that when they wear that shirt that they feel so great about giving blood because it truly does make a difference in someone’s life.”
Maya began donating when she turned 16. She has seven lifetime donations, the equivalent of nearly a gallon of blood. Her t-shirt design features two figures connected by a single arm with the color red flowing from one to the other.
“I hope that it inspires people to donate blood,” she said, “because even if they don’t directly know the recipient of their blood, they are connected for life, and a connection like that is priceless.”
Maya’s t-shirt debuted at Vandalia Butler High School’s Sept. 2 blood drive, the first of the year among CBC’s Ohio high schools. “I like the t-shirt. I think it’s cool,” said blood drive volunteer Casey Petrae.
For Maya, sharing her message with high school kids across the region is just another way of “connecting” with the cause of blood donations.
“Technology is such a huge part of society these days and people can connect with others all around the globe,” she said. “What is a better connection than a donor and a recipient?
“I always think about where my blood goes and who receives it. I don’t personally know the person, but I know that I helped better their life and I will always have that connection with them.”
Maya’s alma mater Houston High School does not hold its annual blood drive until May 3, 2016, when CBC will have switched to the spring high school t-shirt. But Maya’s former classmates will receive her t-shirt when they register to donate. “We held enough back to make sure they get them,” said CBC’s Shelby County Account Representative Kathy Pleiman.