October 16, 2019

FORT LORAMIE, Ohio - St. Michael's always saves the toughest task for last.  The third and final St. Michael's Hall blood drive of the year comes in October, when harvesters are churning around the farming community of Fort Loramie.  Taking time to donate means time away from the fields.

Shelby County Board of Commissioners President Tony Bornhorst was one of the busy farmers who made a quick detour to the Oct. 15 blood drive to donate. "They said, remember to take it easy the rest of the day," said Tony. "I said, Well… I'll probably be back in the seat in a little while. We've got more beans to take in and with the lights these machines have now you can keep going in the dark!"

The three blood drives per year in St. Michael's Hall are traditionally the largest in Shelby County. St. Michael's again won CBC's Platinum Award in 2018 for exceeding 100 percent of collection goals with 825 donors. 

Tuesday's blood drive reached 100 percent of goal with 272 registered donors, including 227 whole blood donations and 19 platelet and plasma donors. That helped St. Michael's finish the year with a total of 870 donors.

"It's the Shelby County rotation," said Fort Loramie donor Dustin Schemmel. "I usually donate every two months, here, Russia and Houston."

"I wasn't going to come until later," said Russia donor Janel Grillot," but my sister said, 'Come with me!'" Janel's sister Angie Lachat completed her donation a few beds away, then joined Janel in the Donor Café for hot sandwiches, fresh-baked cookies and Dannon yogurt, served by volunteers from the Fort Loramie Community Service Club and the Fort Loramie American Legion Auxiliary.

"The last time I donated, a few days later I got the call saying my blood was used," said Angie. "I thought, they're using it - I've got to go!"

The St. Michael's blood drives have included platelet and plasma donations for more than a decade.  CBC began 2019 with the mission of recruiting more platelet and plasma donors by providing more opportunities to donate at community blood drives, and a new emphasis on engaging female donors.

The platelet donation process is not new to Botkins donor Sara Kreitzer, who has been a platelet donor since 2007. "It was a tradition in my house," said Sara. "My mom was a nurse. She donated gallons and was pretty faithful."

Sara was soon joined in the platelet donation area of the blood drive by Cheryl Koester. She's been a blood donor since 2011, but recently began giving platelets.

"This is my ninth platelet donation," said Cheryl, who converted a colorful knee sock into a long-sleeved arm warmer to wear while she donates. As a whole blood donor, she averaged five donations per year. She can donate platelets up to 24 times per year.

"I started here in February, here in Fort Loramie," she said. "They explained the whole process to me. I like the fact that I can come more often and help more people."