February 26, 2018

DAYTON, Ohio - February is always blood drive month at Chaminade Julienne High School, but this year's event on Feb. 23 took on new meaning. It marked CJ's first "Unity in the Community Blood Drive."

CJ and Carroll High are the latest "team of rivals" to join the Unity in the Community Campaign sponsored by Universal 1 Credit Union and Community Blood Center.  It's a chance for rival high schools to save lives by hosting blood drives and improve lives in the community by naming a recipient of the $1,000 Unity Award.

The Unity Campaign began with rivals Miamisburg and West Carrollton High Schools in 2014, followed by Archbishop Alter and Fairmont High Schools in 2015.  Universal 1 pledges the $1,000 award to the schools for hosting blood drives.  The schools then alternate identifying a charity to receive the annual award.

CJ and Carroll got their first Unity Campaign off the ground CJ by presenting the Unity award during halftime of their Feb 11 basketball game.   CJ was the home team and chose the "Brigid's Path" treatment center as this year's recipient. Brigid's Path opened in the fall of 2017 in Kettering and is now providing inpatient care for babies suffering from prenatal drug exposure.

"I think it's a good idea. I loved it," said CJ blood drive coordinator Angela Ruffolo. "Instead of competing, it was doing something good together. They loved doing something good for the community. It's not about the rivalry; it's about a good deed."

CJ Student Council sponsors the annual blood drive. They chose Brigid's Path for the Unity award and rallied support at the presentation. "We had a big student section," said senior Student Council member Annie Weekesser. "Kids realized how much we're involved in the community and how this is a really good cause.  I think the Unity campaign showed how we can come together and make a difference."

Support for the Unity award carried over to the CJ blood drive. "Student Council's job is to encourage everyone to donate, and let them know how it helps and how many lives you can save," said Annie.

CJ's Unity blood drive totaled 91 donors, including 49 first-time donors and 74 donations for 112 percent of the collection goal.

"My dad donates blood," said junior Anneliese Fisher as she made her first lifetime donation. "I thought it would help someone."

Carroll will complete the Unity campaign by hosting a Unity blood drive on March 16.