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Courtesy of Denise Membreno
The early shift of Canteen volunteers included (from left): Millie and Jim Hurlbert, Tami Akin, Pat Bailey, Carol Patton and Del Bailey.
Courtesy of Denise Membreno
Donors often ask for treats that were served in years past. Canteen volunteers try to keep the snacks seasonal.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Jim Hurlbert had been a regular blood donor for most of his life. He always has known that by doing so, he was helping people in need — accident victims, surgical patients and disaster victims. Hurlbert was paid back when he became the recipient of donor blood, and a lot of it.
“I gave gallons of blood throughout my life,” said Hurlbert, who lives in Union Hall. “They won’t accept my blood now.”
That is because Hurlbert is a leukemia survivor. During the course of his treatment, he received many blood transfusions. Now, he and wife Millie share their story with the donors who come to the blood drives at Resurrection Catholic Church in Moneta.
“We are living proof that donating blood helps,” said Millie Hurlbert. “For Jim and me, the main reason we are involved is blood transfusions saved Jim’s life.”
The church holds two blood drives a year for the American Red Cross. The next drive will be in September, the same month in which the first drive was held in 2001.
“We started the blood drive at Resurrection Catholic Church after we had some parishioners who lost children in the Twin Towers on 9-11,” explained Millie Hurlbert. “So we started it as a remembrance for people we lost.”
Because it is a memorial of sort, the parishioners pull out all the stops during the drive. It is known as the “tastiest blood drive” on the lake, because of all the goodies parishioners make for donors to nibble on after they give blood. The drive regularly draws about 30 to 35 donors.
“I make yum yum sandwiches, which are bologna, egg, relish and mayonnaise. This time I also made egg salad,” said Tami Akin, parish nurse at Resurrection and at Trinity Ecumenical Parish. “Millie made two kinds of fudge, one sugar-free. And then we have homemade cookies and brownies. The only reason I think we’re known as the tastiest canteen is because we do homemade stuff.”
“There’s a good likelihood that the food they provide brings in more donors than the average drive,” said Laura Dooley, donor recruitment representative for the American Red Cross Blood Services Division Greater Lynchburg Area. “They’ve had a number of compliments on their canteen, and one of their donors told me it’s the tastiest blood drive on the lake because of the amount of effort they put into their canteen.”
Dooley said winter weather has forced the cancellation of about 80 drives in 12 states. That has resulted in a shortfall of more than 3,100 blood and platelet donations. Combined with the 7,100 from the nor’easter in February, that puts the Red Cross loss at more than 10,000 units.
Additional drives have been scheduled for the SML, Bedford, Lynchburg and Roanoke areas. Donors are allowed to give blood every eight weeks. The exception is those who are double red donors, who give both blood and plasma. In the case of a double red donor, 16 weeks between donations is required. Platelet apheresis donors may give every seven days up to 24 times per year. Regulations are different for those who donate blood for themselves.
“It feels good to be giving back to people,” said Bill Ohlerich, a double red donor. “I also heard donating whole blood [double red ] is better for the recipient of the donation.”
Ohlerich has been donating whole blood for more than eight years. He said he keeps coming back for the good feeling it gives him and said he hopes others will join him at the next drive.
For more donation sites, check www.redcrossblood.org .
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