September 30, 2021

DAYTON, Ohio - Community Blood Center honored the University of Dayton for sponsoring blood and plasma drives during the COVID-19 pandemic by presenting Crisis Hero Awards of Excellence to UD's Student Government Association and to volunteers at the first blood drive of the school year.

The Sept. 29 blood drive at the UD RecPlex kicked off a full schedule of eight blood drives for the 2021-2022 academic year.  The first blood drive topped 114% of collection goal with 86 donors, including 78 donations and 31 first-time donors.

CBC is honoring as Crisis Heroes all sponsors who hosted blood drives during the crisis and those who helped CBC meet the local and national demand for COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma by sponsoring plasma drives.  The Flyers did both.

CBC's Donna Teuscher presented the Crisis Hero Award for blood drives to student volunteers Katie McCaslin and Scott Gorecke.  They are members of the Red Cross Club, which sponsored Wednesday's blood drive and is one of several student organization that sponsored blood drives during the pandemic.

Despite the COVID challenges in the 2020-2021 UD cancelled only two blood drives. The Flyers hosted six blood drives on campus, totaling 429 donors, 329 donations and 158 first-time donors while averaging 104% of collection goal.

"Last year with the blood drives, it was a little more difficult," said Scott. "We used the gyms and kept beds six feet apart. This year we had a table at the organizational event. It was virtual last year. We were able to get more people to register this year."

CBC also presented a Crisis Hero Award to the Student Government Association for helping launch "Crisis Warrior" COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma drives and recruit donors who had recovered from coronavirus infection.

An outbreak of COVID-19 cases on campus in August 2020 postponed in-person classes until late September. Messages about the need for plasma went out to all students and alumni and from Oct. 13 through Nov. 11, 2020 UD hosted seven convalescent plasma drives on campus.

"UD Student Government President Natalie Coppolino called in October and asked if UD could help our community by setting up convalescent plasma drives," said Donna. "They were so happy to get this award and appreciated the opportunity to work with CBC to help the community."

Students who donated at the fall semester's first blood drive said they are optimistic about a healthy and more routine school year.

"Everything is pretty much normal now," said Lilly Taggart, a junior from Columbus majoring in Health Science. "All classes are in-person, and I'm vaccinated so I don't worry about being tested."

"I'm a lifesaver!" said Abby Medler, a senior Political Science major from St. Louis, Missouri, whose O-negative blood type is in high demand. She donated last spring at UD and made her fourth lifetime donation Wednesday. "It was in the big gym, so people were spread out and felt comfortable," she said.

Junior Max Hartwig is a pre-dental student from Springfield, Illinois and a member of the Red Cross Club. He helped list the blood drive on the university event calendar and came to make his third lifetime donation.

For Max, a more normal campus life is a busier one. "You have to manage your time more now," said Max. "You can't be on Zoom all day now, you don't have any classes online. You have to leave time to get across campus!"

UD's next campus blood drive is Oct. 13 at the RecPlex.