Tremper High School’s annual blood drive reached its goal of 600 pints collected in the largest single-day event for a school in the state on Thursday.
In conjunction with Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin, more than 800 people registered to donate, more than a third of them students, at the 38th annual event.
Student government organizers and their adviser, Todd Hardy, a Tremper coach and instructor, said the blood drive also reached another milestone — it’s 25,000th donation, which came in the person of Lisa Fasolo-Rickert, mother of a Tremper student, Isabella, a member of the student government and event organizer
“It was a really good day and then we got down to that countdown to our 25,000th,” Hardy said after the 12-hour event that began at 7 a.m.
A total of 605 pints of blood were collected, he said, crediting the members of the student government that volunteered.
Largest in state
Tremper’s blood drive is the largest single-day blood donation event for high schools in the state.
“It’s really a community event. Our student government students go out to get our donors. We have students who donate and then student government also goes out and asks business to donate food,” said Ricker, senior director of community service for student government.
This year the blood drive fell on National Pi Day (that’s the a numerical constant characterizing the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, or 3.14). Capitalizing on the obvious play on words (pie), the drive also featured food donated from local businesses, including Elsie Mae’s pies and pizza for participants to partake in after giving blood.
In fact, student government members helped make 1,000, 3-inch Smore’s pies consumed by donors.
“We’ve had a really steady flow of people throughout the day,” said Aly Droessler, junior director of community service for student government.
Hundreds of students gave
This year, about 300 students from Tremper were registered to give blood at the event, not including walk-ins. In order to give blood, donors must be at least 17 years of age, or 16 with parental consent.
Droessler didn’t donate on Thursday, but instead gave blood back in November because she knew she would not be eligible this year due to her traveling to the Dominican Republic over the winter break.
Ricker, however, planned to donate later in the day for her very first time.
“I’m really excited to donate,” she said.
Tremper junior Juliana Agaiby, 16 and a member of the student government executive committee, received signed permission from her parents, who are doctors, “so they’re all for it,” she said. She said they also signed up to donate.
“I’ve never (donated) blood before so it was nerve-wracking. But the phlebotomists were so encouraging and supportive,” she said. “I’m going to definitely donate in the future even (after) I graduate I will come back. It was a good experience.”
Ricker said she was encouraged with the number of students who participated in the community drive.
“We’re really happy with how many people have wanted to do the dual red (donations),” said Ricker. “I can say that seeing how many students want to donate, it makes me very proud to go to Tremper.”
According to blood center representative Jason Anschutz, there are three components in whole blood that can be collected during donation: red cells, platelets and plasma. During a double red donation, rather than all of the blood being collected, only the red blood cells are taken while plasma and platelets are returned.
“It’s a way to give two pints of red cells, which are usually the cells that are transfused,” he said.
Senior Arely Gonzalez of Kenosha who gave a pint of blood last year, was among the students who participated in the double-red donation. She was excited to donate again.
“I did it last year and I got a letter from a little boy who said that it helped him,” she said.
Dan Becker, of Kenosha, who also gave twice the red blood cells, said he donated because he supports Tremper, his alma mater.
“I’ve been doing it a long time,” said Becker who graduated in 1985. “I like to come and support them.”
Hardy said he couldn’t thank the community enough.
“The community’s been incredibly supportive of what we do,” said Hardy, who nodded to regulars of the drive who come each year.