Red Cross holds Super Donor Days

Written by Kelcie C. McCrae Green Bay Press Gazette 

425 pints of blood collected at 2-day event

Registered nurse Lorrie John preps Joan Braekman before she donates blood. Braekman is a regular donor who has given more than 10 gallons of blood over the years. / Kelcie C. McCrae/Press-Gazette

Laure Cisler didn’t go to the 25th annual Super Donor Days just to donate blood.

She wanted to say thanks.

“I don’t know who the donors were when I received the blood 18 years ago,” Cisler said. “But I like to think they know who they are if they were here 18 years ago, I’d just like to thank them.”

The annual blood drive sponsored by the American Red Cross was held Thursday and Friday at Shopko Hall. Each year, coordinators try to collect enough blood to last through the Fourth of July weekend.

“Blood is needed each and every day,” said Dave Liethen, donor recruitment representative for the Badger Hawkeye Region of the American Red Cross. “Just because it’s the Fourth of July doesn’t mean that everybody is cured of cancer, people aren’t having heart attacks, or people aren’t getting in accidents and needing blood.”

It is because of annual blood drives similar to Super Donor Days that Cisler says she is alive.

“I was really lucky they held this event when I needed the blood,” she said. “You don’t know what tomorrow holds, whether it’s for you or a loved one, and there’s nothing that can replace that blood, so it’s necessary.”

Cisler’s life changed 18 years ago shortly after the Fourth of July.

Five weeks after she delivered her daughter Courtney, now 18, Cisler began to hemorrhage. She lost half the blood in her body, resulting in the need for donated blood. Now a healthy mother, Cisler, as well as her daughter, have become advocates for the American Red Cross and events that promote blood donations.

“It’s just nice to see all the people here willing to help people like my mom,” Courtney Cisler said. “They don’t know if it’s going to be someone that they know that they are going to be helping, and an hour of their time can give someone the rest of the rest of their life.”

According to Liethen, summer months trigger problems for blood donation centers. Many people are consumed with vacation time and leisure activities, which leaves donation centers dry.

Just like groceries, blood has an expiration date. Because it spoils quickly, they are trying to make sure they have enough clean and useable blood to supply those who need it.

A goal was set of 390 pints of blood to help serve throughout this holiday weekend. At the end the event, they received 425 pints of blood.

“This is the best two-day event since 2007,” said Liethen. “We’re really happy with the pints, it means that people who need it will receive it.”

Given their excitement on exceeding their goal, Liethen stressed that there still is a need for blood and encourages everyone to continue to stay informed on when and where a blood drive will be held.

“We need to make sure we have enough blood on hand,” Liethen said. “It might be something as simple as a trip to the grocery store, or a bite to eat and suddenly you get into an accident and find yourself on the receiving end.”

— kmccrae@greenbaypressgazette .com and follow her on Twitter @PGKelcieMcCrae.


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