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UCPS blood drives account for ‘half of all blood collected in county’

UCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis, second from left, accepts the Red Cross Community Partner Award on behalf of UCPS schools. Also pictured are, from left, Ingrid Boivin, Donor Recruitment Representative from the Carolinas Blood Service Region of the American Red Cross, Ellis, UCPS Community Relations and Communications Liaison Rob Jackson and Sheila Crunkleton, the American Red Cross Community Chapter Executive.

Making a difference takes on a new meaning when the difference made is in saving lives.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross recently recognized Union County Public Schools for its blood drive efforts. Sheila Crunkleton, Community Chapter Executive with the American Red Cross, said UCPS students, staff, parents and community members potentially saved 5,628 lives through their donation of 1,876 units of life-saving blood collected in school blood drives during the last year.

Crunkleton and Ingrid Boivin, Donor Recruitment Representative from the Carolinas Blood Service Region of the American Red Cross, presented UCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis with the Red Cross Community Partner Award during a recent principals’ meeting in recognition of the school system’s ongoing efforts and support of the Red Cross.

“I am very thankful for the giving spirit of our students and staff,” said UCPS Superintendent Dr. Mary Ellis. “The knowledge that so many lives have been potentially saved through their generosity is overwhelming. We appreciate our close working relationship with the American Red Cross and consider it to be an honor to be a community partner with an organization that does so much for so many.”

Crunkleton told those in attendance at the principal’s meeting that the donation of 1,876 units of life-saving blood collected in these school blood drives accounted for almost one half of all blood collected in Union County last year.

Principals from schools that hosted blood drives also received a plaque recognizing the difference their school made. Seven elementary schools hosted blood drives: Benton Heights Elementary School of the Arts, Fairview Elementary, Indian Trail Elementary, Marvin Elementary, Porter Ridge Elementary, Unionville Elementary and Weddington Elementary School. Weddington Elementary led all elementary schools with 57 units of life-saving blood collected.

Three middle schools: Cuthbertson Middle, Parkwood Middle and Piedmont Middle also held blood drives. Piedmont Middle collected the most among the middle schools with 35 units collected.

Eight of the county’s high schools held blood drives, with six collecting more than 175 units each. Participating from the high school level was: Cuthbertson High, Forest Hills High, Parkwood High, Piedmont High, Porter Ridge High, Marvin Ridge High, Sun Valley High and Weddington High. A year ago Porter Ridge High School was recognized for collecting the most units of life-saving blood. This year, Porter Ridge slipped to second as Cuthbertson High took top honors for collecting 322 units of life-saving blood.

“As a new school, we have made being a good neighbor a priority,” said Kim Warr, the principal at Cuthbertson High School. “We recognize the importance of community service. I am especially proud of our students. The blood drives we held were sponsored by student clubs and run by student volunteers. Our students really look for opportunities to make a difference through cleaning roadsides, gathering food and clothing for the needy, raising money to help build orphanages in Uganda and fight deadly diseases. Donating blood to the American Red Cross is one more way we can be a good neighbor and make a difference.”

According to the American Red Cross, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds, with more than 44,000 blood donations needed every day. A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood. The American Red Cross supplies approximately 40 percent of the nation's blood supply, providing blood for patients in nearly 3,000 hospitals across the U.S.

Recently, Hurricane Isaac strained the already low blood supply. Ongoing blood drives are important as most donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection.

Written by: Rob Jackson, Community Relations and Communications Liaison
Posted: Sep 10, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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