Students pleased with blood drive
Carol Whitaker has donated blood roughly 40 times.
The 50-year-old Tonganoxie woman donated another unit of blood at Thursday's blood drive in the Tongan-oxie High School gymnasium. She now has given five gallons through the years.
Each unit of blood equals one pint, and there are eight pints in a gallon, which means she's had 40 pints taken so far.
Whitaker said she likes to give her blood at local drives because she knows she might be helping someone else.
According to a Community Blood Center worker who was administering blood donations Thursday, one unit could help save the life of three people.
That's encouraging to Whitaker, who is following in her father's footsteps.
"My dad, before he couldn't give any more, gave 11 gallons," Whitaker said, referring to her late father, Paul Heywood, who died in 1997.
The Community Blood Drive partnered with the THS Student Council for last week's event. Mike Fonkert, student council vice president, said drive organizers set a goal of 60 units for the Tonganoxie drive. Fonkert said Friday that Tonganoxie had 92 units -- or 11.5 gallons.
"We feel really good," Fonkert said. "We think that our spring drive is going to be even more successful. More 16-year-olds and now we know the school is going to support it."
To give blood, citizens must be at least 16. By the spring, many sophomores who now are 15 will be eligible to donate.
Fonkert said a date hasn't been set yet for the next drive, but he said it definitely would take place in the spring.
Students also had a little extra incentive in donating blood.
The theme for this year's blood drive is "In the race for life," Fonkert said. As part of that, high school students who donate automatically are entered to win a 2000 Pontiac Firebird, which the Laird Noller Ford dealership donated to Community Blood Center.