BOTKINS — Susan Leugers, of Botkins, was inducted into the Fresenius Kabi Donation Hall of Fame on Tuesday, at the Immaculate Conception Church, in recognition for her long-term commitment to blood donation.
Leugers not only donates on a regular basis, but also created an annual blood drive in honor of her daughter, Chelsea Lukey, who died in 2010, at the age of 22, after a long battle with pancreatic islet cell cancer.
Leugers donated blood for the first time in 1990, long before Chelsea’s harrowing battle, but after losing her, blood donation became a way for Leugers to honor and remember her daugher.
The third annual Chelsea Lukey Memorial Blood Drive was held on Tuesday, as well, during which Leugers’ hall of fame induction ceremony took place. Leugers is one of only 12 annual inductees into the hall of fame.
According to Fresenius Kabi, a global health care company that specializes in lifesaving medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion and clinical nutrition, these inductees are nominated by blood centers across the country and chosen based on their demonstrated commitment and passion to donating blood and/or encouraging blood donation.
Leugers was nominated by Community Blood Center because of her success with hosting blood drives so early in the year.
According to Mark Pompilio, public relations and marketing representative for Community Blood Center, donations totals are usually down around this time of year, leaving blood in short supply.
Pompilio said Leugers has continuously proven to be successful in rallying those around her to donate, and during the first Chelsea Lukey Memorial Blood Drive in July of 2016, she brought in 76 donors, including 34 first-time donors.
According to Community Blood Drive’s totals from Tuesday’s drive, 88 donors came to honor Susan and Chelsea. Their 79 donations topped last year’s total. The blood drive soared to 120 percent of the collection goal.
“She is a really good recruiter,” Pompilio said. “She believes in the personal ask — to just plain ask someone (to donate).”
He continues by explaining that this direct and individual approach seems to leave people more inspired to donate.
“Some people say, ‘Well, no one ever asked me;’ or, ‘It’s hard to say no to someone you respect who asks you to donate,’” Pompilio said.
Leugers believes blood donation should be something that every healthy person considers.
“I think everybody that can donate should because it’s better to be on the giving end than the receiving end,” she said.
As for her success with drawing people to her blood drives, Leugers said the community itself deserves the credit.
“People are very close here (in Botkins). If someone’s in need, people step up to the plate and donate,” she said. “It’s nothing really that I do, it’s the people who show up. It takes a village.”
Leugers had the final appointment of the day at Tuesday’s drive, making her 136th lifetime donation.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825