Students help Red Cross with blood drive

April 28, 1999

blood driveBy BRUCE HAMILTON / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

Local students are giving more blood than ever before, according to Teresa Elwood, director of health services for the Washington County chapter of the American Red Cross.

The chapter is operating with a deficit of almost 400 units, according to Elwood. Schools are boosting blood drives by joining a campaign that runs through May 28.

"This is the very best year for the high schools," said Elwood. "The kids deserve a lot of credit."

At Williamsport High School, 143 students signed up to donate blood Wednesday. That's more than double what the Red Cross estimated the school's goal should be and more than at any other school, according to Elwood.


The local chapter is trying to reach its annual goal of 8,000 units of blood by June 30, but it has been a struggle, Elwood said.

By April 1, the group had 5,611 units, 389 less than the amount it should have stocked by then.

Elwood said she attributes the drop to the closing of Fort Ritchie, where the chapter typically got 600 to 800 units.

The chapter launched a special campaign April 24. Donors may now give blood in memory of deceased loved ones or in the names of friends or relatives who are undergoing medical treatment that requires blood.

The campaign has a 1950s theme because the blood services of the Red Cross began 50 years ago in June, according to Elwood. The Red Cross used the Internet to educate students about the blood donation process.

"I think when you have a good time and you learn something in the process you remember it better," Elwood said. Some schools offered candy bars and played the movie "Grease."

At Williamsport High, several students wore clothes with '50s styles.

"We're all dressing in poodle skirts and stuff," said Amy Spoonier, a senior who helped organize the drive in the school.

Spoonier encouraged her peers to donate, using a message from the Red Cross. "For every unit you give, you save four lives," she said.

Principal Roger Giles said the school's drive was well organized and publicized.

With beds available on stage in the school auditorium Wednesday, music from the 1950s played as students filed through. As a reward, many got pizza and treats like donuts after donating.

Elwood said the school campaign is intended to show students that giving blood is a community responsibility. "It's a very worthwhile thing for them to do," she said. To give blood, call (301) 739-0717.

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