On mental illness. Today is Mental Health Day.

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Alpha Phi sisters Amy DeOliveria & Morgan Wihlen & Zeta Tau Alpha member Theresa Sulminski make get well cards at the blood drive.

Alpha Phi sisters Amy DeOliveria & Morgan Wihlen & Zeta Tau Alpha member Theresa Sulminski make get well cards at the blood drive.

DAYTON, Ohio – Fraternity and sorority members at the University of Dayton scored points for their chapters, and for young patients at Dayton Children’s Medical Center, by supporting the first Community Blood Center (CBC) blood drive of the new school year Tuesday, Sept. 16 in both word and deed.

Tuesday’s blood drive in the RecPlex was the first of 10 blood drives scheduled on the UD campus this year. Members of the UD Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils sponsored the blood drive as an opportunity to also kick-off the Sept. 29 – Oct. 1 Greek Week competition. Greeks could score points for their chapters by registering to donate at the blood drive. They were also invited to craft home-made “get well” cards and upbeat messages that will be delivered to young patients at Dayton Children’s Medical Center.

Greek Week and the new year of UD blood drives got off to a successful start. The blood drive had 128 registrations, including 55 first-time donors and 94 donations for 118% of the collection goal.

“It’s gone really well,” said IFC Community Service Committee Chairman Nick Brehl, a Sigma Phi Epsilon volunteer in the Donor Cafe. “We got a lot of people to show up and make cards, even if they couldn’t give blood. I went to Africa this summer, so I couldn’t give blood. So I filled out a card and I’ve been working all day.”

Alpha Phi sisters Amy DeOliveira and Morgan Wihlen and Zeta Tau Alpha member Theresa Sulminski huddled at a craft table artfully creating cards from brightly colored markers and construction paper. A box in the center of the table was already stuffed with finished cards and envelopes, ready to be delivered to Dayton Children’s.

“It’s just a positive message,” Morgan said of her creation. “I can’t give blood, but this is a chance to give a message of hope and encouragement.”

Sophomore Camille Casey was excited to complete her first lifetime blood donation and demonstrated it with the Alphi Phi hand sign. “I’m deathly afraid of needles,” she said. “I was going to make a card, and when I got here I figured, who not do it! I’m healthy, it’s happening, I’m willing to make a change. Blood helps save people!”

One of the best moments of sisterhood came from two non-Greek sophomores Cecilia Ruffing and Rita Zambon. They had donated together at the last UD blood drive of their freshmen year and were back at the start of the new school year to donate again. “I saw the sign and thought, I wonder if a blood drive is coming up? So I went on line (www.DonorTime.com) to check,” said Cecilia. “I told (Rita) about it and said ‘Would you go give blood with me?’ and she said OK.”


Nicole Devereux, a Gamma Phi from Chicago with sorority sister Meg Czerwonka from Ann Arbor, Michigan show off their '50 Years of Saving Lives' t-shirts.

Nicole Devereux, a Gamma Phi from Chicago with sorority sister Meg Czerwonka from Ann Arbor, Michigan show off their ’50 Years of Saving Lives’ t-shirts.

OXFORD, Ohio – All thoughts are on the future as Miami University students settle in to September and the exciting year ahead. Hundreds poured into the Shriver Center Wednesday, Sept. 10 and Thursday, Sept. 11 to support the annual Community Blood Center (CBC) Greek Week Blood Drive. They may not have been thinking about Miami’s prominent past in CBC’s 50-year history of saving lives, but they were about to become part of the legacy.

The Greek Week Blood Drive traditionally gives fraternities and sororities their first opportunity to earn points toward the overall Greek Week title by recruiting the most donors. Games, athletics and dance competitions will follow with events scheduled Oct. 25 through Nov. 1 to coincide with Miami homecoming.

“This has been all brand new to me,” said Greek Week Director of Service Victoria DellaDonna, a senior Tri Delta member from Cleveland who serves as student coordinator of the blood drive and all Greek Week community service events. “But it has all come together, and that’s what matters. We’ve been blowing up social media and keeping lines of communications open with chapter presidents really helps. You have to send them a few emails – you have to be annoying pretty much!”

Last-minute prodding paid off with a flood of appointments. Wednesday saw 315 registrations, including 180 first-time donors, and 260 blood donations. The blood drive finished strong Thursday, surging to 343 registrations, 194 first-time donors and 258 donations. The two-day total of 658 registrations, 374 first-time donors, and 518 donations reached 93% of goal.

Miami set the cornerstone for CBC campus blood donation campaigns when it began with two mobile blood drives in 1978. By 2001 MU had expanded to 12 blood drives a year, an achievement that earned a national award from America’s Blood Centers. This year Miami will host 17 blood drives, and the Greek Week Blood Drive (a two-day event since 2007) is the crown jewel on the calendar.

“Six of the blood drives are sponsored by the faculty and staff group, led by Susan Gibson during two semesters and the summer term,” said CBC’s Bill Roy, account representative for Miami. “Nine are sponsored by 70 student organization during two semesters, and the two days of Greek Week. But Greek Week collections are equivalent to 10 of the regular Miami blood drives.”

Sigma Pi fraternity member Andy Keiser enjoyed a sprawling view of the Miami campus as he made an automated donation of double red blood cells in the Shriver Center’s Heritage Room. “It’s my first time doing doubles, and my first time donating!” he said. When asked to give a double donation of his type O blood, Andy saw it as a chance to support his fraternity and help others. “They’ve been sending out the word, telling everyone to come out,” he said. “It’s a good cause, and it doesn’t take too long.”

Junior Pat Nash finished his donation and joined fellow junior J.P. Cooleen in the Donor Café. “Me and my roommate donated,” Pat said, pointing to J.P. as they munched on giant chocolate chip cookies. “He said, ‘Let’s go give some blood!’ It’s a pretty easy thing to do. You spend about a half hour and get some free cookies!”

Donor Café volunteer Kellie Coppola handed a “50 Years of Saving Lives” t-shirt to senior Zach Silvestri, a Phi Kappa Psi member from Malvern, Pennsylvania who never misses a Greek Week Blood Drive. “I’ve never volunteered at this kind of event and I kind of wanted to see what it was like,” said Kellie, a sophomore Alpha Omicron Pi member. “I hadn’t done some community service in a while and this was a time to help others.”

Kappa Delta member Alison Thomas, a junior from Bethesda, Maryland arrived in the Café after making her 5th lifetime donation. “They’ve all been here (at Miami),” she said. “I figure it’s something I should do, if I am able to do it, because not everyone is able.”



GREENVILLE, Ohio – “Got that one…. Got that one… ah, I like that one!” There may be prize livestock to judge and ice cold crushies to choose at the annual Great Darke County Fair, but for blood donors on Community Blood Center (CBC) “T-shirt Day” it’s a treasure hunt for the elusive t-shirt design you don’t yet own.
CBC Darke Co. account representative Dana Puterbaugh and her citizen advisory board volunteers worked the “T-Shirt Day” booth under the hot afternoon sun Wednesday, Aug. 20. Any donor who arrived at the booth wearing their favorite CBC t-shirt could draw a chip and choose from a heaping pile of “retired” t-shirts, leftover from previous blood drive campaigns.
They could also enter a drawing to win a quilt, lovingly stitched together by donor Tammy Pugh from some vintage CBC blood drive t-shirts.
“Got that one, got that one… ah! I like chocolate,” said Union City, OH donor Patty Hunt, who grabbed a Hershey chocolate brown t-shirt with the slogan “How Sweet It is to Save a Life!” “I’ve been donating for a couple of years now and I’ve got five or six of these,” she said of her hunt through the t-shirts before finding a keeper.
Patty donates at CBC mobile blood drives held at Greenville Technology Inc. and she was soon joined by a group of friends from GTI. Donating together at work is a tradition for them, and so is enjoying the fair. “I’m a ‘fair bum’ said Patty. “I take the whole week off!”
“We come every year,” said Jackie Magee, who wore a “Keep Calm & Carry On Saving Lives” t-shirt to the fair, and chose the same chocolate t-shirt as Patty. Jackie did even better at last year’s “T-Shirt Day” when she won the drawing for a pair of Kings Island tickets.
“They give us time to donate,” their friend Dot Ellis said about the GTI blood drives. “Afterwards you get your juice and cookies and you go back to work, or go home, whatever you’re ready to do.”
Summer weather definitely returned in time for the fair, with temperatures in the high 80’s and plenty of visitors wearing broad hats and sunglasses with their donor t-shirts. Picking a t-shirt is one of dozens of choices for fairgoers. Fried cakes, grilled sandwiches, and kegs of root beer abound. The midway rides spin, while a live elephant gets ready to make the rounds with paying passengers on his back. Dairy cows relax on beds of hay in the luxurious new dairy barn, retirees line dance in front of the gazebo, kids race around the fairgrounds enjoying the last freedom of summer, and the grandstand gets ready for the night’s tractor pull and the Veterans Parade.
Back at the CBC T-Shirt booth, Piqua donor Sarah Smith wore an American flag donor t-shirt and for her free t-shirt chose the October Breast Cancer Awareness “I Fight Cancer, I Give Blood” pink ribbon design. “I have an aunt that died from breast cancer she said. “My daughter Katelynn is 15. She remembers her Aunt Trix. Every time she sees a pink ribbon she has to have it.”
Pink is clearly Sarah and Katelynn’s choice. The “I Fight Cancer” t-shirt was Dana’s choice on T-Shirt Day too. Even in the rainbow of CBC t-shirt colors, the electric kaleidoscope of lights on the midway, and all the candy box of attractions at the Great Darke County Fair… one color can sometimes stand out from all the rest.


Carolyn Lendenski with son Edde Lendenski donating in his dad's memory.

Carolyn Lendenski with son Edde Lendenski donating in his dad’s memory.

The “Celebrating 50 Years of Saving Lives” t-shirts on the table at the 3rd annual Ed Lendenski Memorial Blood Drive Monday, Aug. 18 in West Milton stirred memories for Carolyn Lendenski, widow of the popular Milton-Union High School principal, coach and community leader.
Sept. 14, 2014 will mark Community Blood Center’s (CBC) 50th anniversary. As Carolyn handed out the special t-shirts and home-baked brownies in the Donor Café she recalled when “Big Ed,” her great bear of a husband with a life-long passion for athletics, was laid low by myelodysplastic syndrome, the bone marrow disorder that eventually took his life.
“We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in the hospital,” she said. “Everyone at Good Samaritan was wonderful to us. Father Caserta (pastor of West Milton’s Transfiguration Church) said, ‘We could have a mass said for you, we have a chapel here.’”
MDS patients develop severe anemia and Ed’s treatment included many blood transfusions. His family began the memorial blood drive as a way to thank and honor blood donors who helped extend his life.
Monday’s blood drive registered 27 donors, including three first-time donors, and collected 23 donations.
“Ed’s hemoglobin had dropped and he was prone to infection at that time,” she said. But the nursing staff got together and cleaned up the room. They had champagne and snacks, and just for Ed and I they set up a room with flowers. They asked, ‘If you could have dinner anywhere, where would you want to go?’ I said, ‘Oh, the Pine Club!’ They had a dinner cooked at the hospital with everything from the Pine Club. He passed away six months later but at least we got to celebrate our anniversary together.”
It’s a tribute to Ed Lendenski that his former students and players remember him fondly and donate in his memory at the blood drive. Former player and fellow Rotary Club member Steve Longenecker donated Monday – his third in Ed’s name. He again told stories of Ed’s reputation for discipline, including paddling and “locker dancing” – tossing unruly players like Steve against lockers – to get their attention.
“My dad and Big Ed were best friends,” said West Milton’s Trasey Thompson, who made her 20th lifetime donation Monday. “They did a lot of fishing together. I went to school with Eddie, their son, and we graduated together. They’re good people.”
Eddie made more than 20 platelet donations for his father, the last just days before Big Ed’s death in March of 2012. Near the end of Monday’s blood drive Eddie arrived at Transfiguration Church from his home in the Mason area to donate again, this time in his dad’s memory.
“It’s for dad and for anybody else that needs blood,” he said. “People don’t realize how important this really is until it happens to someone in your family.” The thought is not just about Big Ed. Eddie’s 14-year old son is a big, strong football and baseball player just like his dad and grandfather. But he nearly died from a sinus infection that spread to his brain. He has recovered, and the family is thankful.
An unexpected delight at the blood drive came courtesy of Lindsay Baddeley, who donated with her four-month old son Aidan at her side. Lindsay first donated while at Vandalia-Butler High School, then later at Miami Valley Career Technology Center. “I was working at CTC,” said Carolyn. “That was right before I retired.” The two talked about school days as Lindsay donated and Carolyn held Aidan and fed him his bottle. As the family always says at the Ed Lendenski Memorial Blood Drive, “Big Ed would be so proud.”



Sanders family of donors (L-R) Kathleen Ehemann, Kelli Ehemann, Robert Ehemann, Elfrieda Sanders & Bernard ‘Bud’ Sanders.

ANNA, Ohio – Giving blood is a common bond in Shelby County, where one out of four people you meet on the street is a blood donor.  The tradition is often passed down from one generation to the next, turning blood drives into “family reunions.” A good example was the gathering of three generations of the Sanders family Tuesday, May 20 at St. Jacob Lutheran Church in Anna.

It was part of a remarkable day for blood donations across Shelby County, with three separate Community Blood Center (CBC) blood drives that totaled 176 blood donations.

Bernard and Elfrieda Sanders live in Fort Loramie and traveled to their daughter Kathleen’s neighborhood blood drive in Anna.  “We usually go to Loramie (St. Michael’s Hall blood drive) and Russia (St. Remy’s blood drive) but it worked out by coming here everybody could be together,” said Elfrieda.  “We try to donate six times a year.  Not often together, but our granddaughter Kelli was home from college.”

Granddaughter Kelli Ehemann, a 19-year-old Anna High School graduate, is home for the summer after her freshmen year at Ohio State University, where she is a pre-dentistry student.  She started donating at age 16, before her high school hosted a student blood drive.

“I donated for the first time at the Moose Lodge in Sidney,” she said. “When I finally turned 16 I wanted to give blood.”  She’s wanted to be a dentist even longer. “When I was three years old my sister kicked my two front teeth out,” she said. “After that traumatic experience I’ve pretty much been interested in dental school!”

Kelli has made five lifetime blood donations and her brother Robert, a junior at AHS, already has four lifetime donations.  Kelli served on student council and suggested they sponsor the school’s first student blood drive. “She was the reason it happened,” said CBC Shelby County Account Representative Kathy Pleiman. “Kelli was very passionate about it and spearheaded the student blood drive.”

Her inspiration goes back two generations. Kelli and Robert’s grandfather “Bud” Sanders has 133 lifetime blood donations and their grandmother Elfrieda Sanders has 103. Their uncle Kevin Sanders has 110 donations and their uncle Nick Sanders has 63.  Kelli’s mom Kathleen Ehemann made her milestone 50th lifetime donation at the St. Jacob blood drive.

“I didn’t know it was 50 today,” Kathleen said. “I’m always glad when I can give, I’m always excited.” A minor disappointment was not being able to donate alongside her mother and daughter. Both Elfrieda and Kelli were deferred from donating on this visit for low iron. “I was just hoping I could give – I’m always the one that has trouble with iron,” said Kathleen. “But I’m glad it worked out.”

The Sanders are just part of Shelby County’s widespread commitment to helping others through blood donations.  In 2013 Shelby County donors supported 122 mobile blood drives and donated 6,395 units of life-saving blood products.

Shelby County ranks only 9th in population among the 15 counties in CBC’s service area, yet is third in total number of registered donors.  Of those eligible by age to donate, one out of four people in Shelby County are blood donors, the highest percentage among CBC’s 15 counties.

“I usually donate in Sidney,” said Susan Lukey from Botkins.  She chatted with Kathleen in the Donor Café after making her 117th lifetime donation.  “I donate on the eight-week schedule, so I go wherever the rotation lands.”

They snacked on shredded chicken and ham sandwiches and cookies, courtesy of St. Jacob volunteers. “We have a team here at church,” said blood drive coordinator Jill Brandt. “You volunteer to bake up cookies for anything you sign up for.  We’ve got a lot of nice cookies, and they’re all homemade!”

The St. Jacob blood drive wrapped up the day with 68 registrations and 55 donations for 112% of goal.  Earlier in the day, the nearby Honda Manufacturing Inc. blood drive registered 115 donors and collected 95 donations for 107% of goal. On the same day in Sidney Emerson Climate Technologies held a blood drive that added 31 registrations and 26 donations for 100% of goal.

It was a day of 175 donations, three generations of donors, and a single county best known as the home for blood donors.



Trina & Ashley Current from Miami East High School are twin sisters, twin basketball stars, twin scholarship winners… & twin blood donors!

CASSTOWN, Ohio – Hail to the Vikings of Miami East High School for rolling up their sleeves, pulling hard on the long oars, and helping Community Blood Center (CBC) row to shore Friday, May 16 with the final high school blood drive of the year among CBC’s 122 high schools across 15 counties.

Friday’s spring blood drive resulted in 28 registrations, including seven first-time donors and 23 successful donations for 114% of goal. Miami East hosted two blood drives in the 2013-14 school year for a total of 60 registrations and 52 donations.  The Vikings contributed to CBC’s year-ending total of 203 high school blood drives with 13,540 registrations and 11,285 blood donations.

Junior Miranda Maggart had the honor of filling the final appointment and making the final donation of a very busy year for CBC high school blood drives. It was her second lifetime blood donation, putting her in good position to qualify for the CBC Red Cord Honor Program with her next registration to donate during her senior year.

“The first time I donated, they called me and told me my blood was used to save a life 30 days after,” she said. “I was happy about it, my parents (who signed her consent to donate when she was 16) were happy. It felt good!”

Miami East’s final drive comes just a week before graduation. For some seniors, it was a final opportunity to register for a third high school career donation and be able to wear the Red Cord at graduation.   That wasn’t a worry for seniors Trina Current and Shane Richardson who both made their 4th lifetime donations Friday.

“I got called one year saying my blood got used right away,” said Trina. “I went ‘Oh!’ that made me feel good, so I like donating.” Shane will be studying mechanical engineer at Ohio University next year while Trina will be heading out of state.  Trina and her twin sister Ashley were both star players on the Miami East women’s basketball team (Ashley’s jersey number was 32, Trina’s 33) and both earned athletic scholarships to West Virginia State University

The final “buzzer beater” for the Current sisters was seeing if Ashley could be excused from her math test in time to make one last donation. Ashely arrived just before noon, and just in time.  It helped that her math teacher is blood drive coordinator Meghan Arnold.   “She knows that we want to donate and gives us a chance to go,” said Ashely.

The final blood drive was also a chance for sophomore Autumn Sargent to begin her career as a donor with her first lifetime donation. She turned 16 in April and was inspired by her cousin to get started right away.  “My cousin does it a lot,” said Autumn, “and I like to donate and help people.”

Olivia Weldon is just a sophomore, but made her 2nd lifetime donation Friday. “I told myself when I was little, no matter what blood type I am, I’m going to donate,” she said.  Olivia turned out to be type O-positive.  “Which is kind of funny,” she joked, “because my first name starts with O, but I’m a ‘negative’ person!”

Friendship and loyalty played a big role for students like junior Nolan Wooley, who made his first lifetime donation Friday. “I did it because he told me to,” he said pointing to his friend junior Michael Deeter. “He said he would do it with me!”

Sophomore Alyssa Eakins is only 16, but made her 2nd lifetime donation Friday.  Junior Sabrina Kessler also made her 2nd lifetime donation.  “Woo-hoo! Last blood drive,” said Sabrina.  “We normally donate together.”  “If you can call us ‘normal,’” added Alyssa.  You can call them normal classmates, good friends, and exceptional life-saving blood donors.


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