Cape, Jackson Boy Scouts hold competitive blood drive for American Red Cross

Monday, February 4, 2008

The competitive blood drive between Boy Scouts in Cape Girardeau and Jackson is on.

More than 30 units from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts to Venturers in Cape Girardeau and Jackson are competing in an event to recruit eligible blood donors called the "Would You Be My Hero Program."

Blood donors can respond to the need for blood from 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at two locations: the VFW hall, 1049 N. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau, or the Elks lodge, 542 W. Independence St. in Jackson.

According to the American Red Cross,

* Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

* One in 10 people entering a hospital needs blood.

* The average body contains 10 to 12 pints of blood; one donation is a pint.

* Blood is often needed for traumas, heart surgeries, organ transplants, leukemia and cancer treatments.

* People in car accidents who suffer massive blood loss may require transfusions of more than 50 pints of red blood cells.

Tony Smee, Cape Girardeau blood drive coordinator for the Boy Scouts, said, "It's a friendly competition. The point is to get people to donate blood."

The idea was announced at a leader's meeting, and by early December, fliers were distributed to boys and their leaders. The fliers contained information on the importance of blood, as well as the time, date and locations of the drive.

"The response from the boys was very positive, and several adults were excited to see the combined effort between Boy Scouts and the Red Cross," Smee said.

Jennifer Freeze, American Red Cross associate donor recruitment representative for the Missouri-Illinois region, said presentations were made to the Boy Scouts so they would understand how important it was to recruit donors and answer their questions.

"We explain that just as a person would take certain medicines for strep throat, headaches, the flu or any illness, sometimes there are people so sick that they need blood to get better." she said.

She said the Scouts were taught that there are three parts of blood -- platelets, plasma and red blood cells -- and each is used in different medical situations, ranging from cancer treatments to burn treatments.

The Scouts were then asked to help recruit a parent or someone else to be their "hero" and donate blood on their behalf. A T-shirt will be awarded to each Scout who recruits a blood donor, and the Scouts from the city with the largest number of donors will receive a pizza party, as long as a donor showed up on their behalf.

The project will help the Scouts with community service hours that help them earn merit badges, Smee said.

Kelly Ressel, another Red Cross recruitment representative, said both drives require four to five nurses at each site plus a mobile unit assistant for driving the blood van and unloading, processing and reloading the blood on the day of the drive.

Included in the planning are three or four individuals who schedule trucks and equipment, as well as staffing and scheduling coordinators who do a site check on the date, time and venues that have been set up.

"Each site has a goal of 25 productive units set for this blood drive. It's really important we get what we strive for, because we're making monthly projections to hospitals who depend on the blood," Ressel said.

cpagano@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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