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FIRST SPRINGBORO JUNETEENTH JUBILEE BLOOD DRIVE IS ABOUT CARING FOR COMMUNITY

June 21, 2021

SPRINGBORO, Ohio - The first Springboro Juneteenth Jubilee kicked-off Friday, June 18 with stormy weather but strong donor turnout for the inaugural Juneteenth Jubilee Blood Drive at Southwest Church.

A downpour pounded the CBC Bloodmobile at the start of the blood drive on a day that would be marked by tornado warnings. It didn't stop Juneteenth organizer Craig Salmon-Gilmore from being the first to donate.

"It's kind of a mixed day for us," said Craig, who knew volunteers would be working through the storm Friday to be ready for the full schedule of Juneteenth events on Saturday. "It's OK to let the rain come if it will be better tomorrow!"

The storm did not discourage donors and the sun returned for the weekend. The blood drive topped 108% of collection goal with 29 donors, including nine first-time donors.

"I heard you set this all up!" said donor Molly Leary in a greeting to Craig on the Bloodmobile. "I saw it on the news and went to the website and signed up," she said.  "They did say there was a shortage," Craig responded. "I'm glad people signed up."

"I'm one of his Facebook friends and heard about the blood drive," said donor Christopher Meyer. "I'm helping set up, and I'm looking forward to the Underground Railroad tour."

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S. The blood drive came on the eve of the June 19 national observance of Juneteenth and World Sickle Cell Awareness Day.

"The blood drive was Craig's idea," said Southwest Church Senior Minister Roger Hendrick. "He has a heart for community service. It made sense and provided a service element to the Juneteenth celebration."

Craig was inspired to include the blood drive in his goal to promote community health. Saturday's events included COVID-19 vaccines and information booths from Premier Health and Dayton Children's Hospital.

"It's an opportunity for the African-American community to get together with other minority groups and our white brothers and sisters, and why not have everyone get together for blood drive?" said Craig.  "The blood drive is really the kick-off. There are many bloodborne diseases in the African-American community and certainly Sickle Cell is an issue."

"Sickle cell disease disproportionately impacts Black and Hispanic individuals often requires frequent blood transfusions," said CBC HLS Lab ManagerGavin Patch. "Generally, the best blood match comes from donors of the same ethnic or genetic background. For this reason, it is extremely important to increase the number of available blood donors from all ethnic groups."

"No other Juneteenth has that healthcare focus, the health component as well as the national celebration," said Craig. "It's about healthcare disparity and raising awareness in the community and helping people get the care they need."