DAYTON — Blood donors are giving the gift of life as a going-away present to 2015. Nearly every seat in the waiting area and Donor Café and every bed in the Donor Room were filled by late morning at the downtown Dayton Community Blood Center on New Year’s Eve as donors squeezed in one last donation before the New Year.
A “donor of honor” in the crowd was blind donor Larry Smith from Dayton who gave platelets for his 298th lifetime donation. It was Larry’s first return visit to CBC since his Dec. 8 donation when he was also inducted into the national Fresenius Kabi Donation Hall of Fame.
Larry is among 12 donors inducted for 2015. A picture of each inductee and the story of why they were nominated appear on each month of the 2016 Hall of Fame calendar. It’s fitting that Larry is “Mr. December” because part of his recognition was for the donation he made during a snow storm on the day after Christmas in 2012.
“I was all set to come in today and I can’t think of a better way to end the year,” he said. “It’s a good thing to do and I enjoy doing it. I don’t go out and tell the world about it, I just go on my way.”
Larry was joined by a crowd of donors, happy to do something to help others as a final good deed in 2015. “I wanted to donate one more time before the end of the year,” said Katelyn Brink of Huber Heights, who made her 21st lifetime donation Thursday. “I like donating.”
Brent Russell made his 47th lifetime donation with a platelet donation. “I took the whole day off, I didn’t have anything to do in the morning and it all worked out,” he said. “Now I can go watch football for the rest of the day and tomorrow!”
James Grusenmeyer is part of the Tipp City Grusenmeyer farm family that includes several loyal CBC blood donors. “I’m getting there,” said James as he donated platelets for his 50th lifetime donation. “I’m catching up to my dad.” James’ dad Steve Grusenmeyer just reached his milestone 150th lifetime donation. “He started donating platelets when I started donating platelets.”
James is an agriculture student at Ohio State University and also works as a UPS delivery driver in Columbus. The holidays have been busy, so he has no big plans for New Year’s Eve. “I’m going to sleep,” he said. “I just got off work three hours ago and came down here from Columbus. “I delivered 7,000 boxes just by myself. You can tell by the labels they were mostly Christmas gift returns.”
Trezure Porter made her third lifetime donation with no special timing for New Years’ Eve. “Just because,” she said. “I got a call that it was time to donate again so I thought that I would.” She’ll be at work for most of New Year’s Eve, but gets off at 10 p.m., leaving open the possibility of celebrating at midnight.
Elaine Reinert is certain that it will be quiet and casual when the New Year arrives. She made her 19th lifetime donation, while her husband Donald made his 15th. “The family that bleeds together stays together!” she laughed. “I plan to take it easy. We’ve been running for a while. I plan to relax and spend the evening with my husband, no big plans for the evening.”
It will be a New Year’s Eve to remember for 16-year-old Centerville High School student Allison Hart. Her dad Kenneth signed her consent so that she could make her first lifetime donation Thursday. “My dad asked me about it,” she said. “It’s a good cause and I figured why not?”
“I encouraged her to do it,” said Kenneth Hart as he made his 39th lifetime donation with Allison. As far as the New Year’s Eve celebration, it happens that they both have plans together again. “I’m going to a party with friends from school,” said Allison. “I’m her taxi!” said Kenneth.
The honor of very last donor of 2015 went to Sandy Hagen of Tipp City, who made her 107th lifetime donation before CBC closed for the year. “I’ve been doing this every New Year’s Eve for 10 years or so,” she said. “That’s what we do.” Her husband Larry also keeps the tradition, but this year he has a cold. “I know there are a lot of accidents on New Year’s Eve,” she said. “Maybe someone will need blood – hope they don’t – but if they do, we gave blood.”
Learn more at www.GivingBlood.org