FORT LORAMIE — February can be a tough time for finding enough donors to keep up the winter blood supply. That wasn’t a worry on Feb. 19 thanks to the full house at the St. Michael’s Hall blood drive.
Community Blood Center began 2019 with a call for new donors and the goal of providing more opportunity to donate platelets and plasma at community blood drives. St. Michael’s three blood drives are traditionally the largest in Shelby County and have included platelet and plasma donations for more than a decade.
The Fort Loramie community helped St. Michael’s maintain its high standard by totaling 825 donors in 2018. Expectations are even higher for 2019 after Tuesday’s strong start. The blood drive totaled 281 donors, including 230 whole blood donors and 22 platelet and plasma donations for 100 percent of collection goal.
The Fort Loramie Community Service Club, Fort Loramie American Legion Auxiliary, and Fort Loramie Knights of St. John are the dedicated sponsors of the blood drives. Volunteers made sure donors felt appreciated as they served chicken and ham sandwiches and fresh-baked cookies in the Donor Café.
Legion Auxiliary member Janice Stockman has the busy job of organizing all the food for the blood drives. Yet she managed to take time for her milestone 200th lifetime donation. “I knew it was coming and it worked out perfect,” said Janice. “I’m headed for 300 now!”
Janice started donating as a teen with her twin brother Jim Hoehne. Now her grandson, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews are donors.
Family tradition and dedication to community are shared inspirations among St. Michael’s donors. Last February, Tony Bornhorst was elected president of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners and a week later underwent heart surgery for a quadruple bypass. Bornhorst returned to donating in December, and made his milestone 110th lifetime donation Tuesday at St. Michael’s.
“Last Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of the surgery, and we got our 110th today,” said Bornhorst, who is now busy with planning for Shelby County’s April 1 bicentennial celebration.
In the Donor Café CBC’s Kathy Pleiman chatted with donors with A, AB, and B positive blood types about considering platelet or plasma donations. “I’ve done plasma before,” said Anna donor Steve Luthman. “Send me an email and I’ll make an appointment.”
Osgood donor Neal Pleiman started donating at age 17. He made 200 whole blood donations before becoming a platelet and plasma donor in 2010. His wife Mary Jean made her milestone 150th lifetime donation in January and Neal donated plasma Tuesday for his 261st lifetime donation.
“I’ve been to Fort Loramie, Versailles and Russia,” Neal said about his platelet and plasma donation schedule. “It works out perfectly for me every month.”
Neal and Mary Jean have four daughters. Their support for St. Michael’s and other blood drives is inspired by the memory of their only son Michael, who they lost to heart disease in 1983.
“We had a boy who passed away at 14,” said Neal. “His last night, he went through 31 pints in four hours. We had him for 14 years. After something like that, when they ask you to give blood, you do it.”