Santa to visit blood drive

Santa will be visiting the Sacred Heart Church blood drive on Dec. 17.

Santa will be visiting the Sacred Heart Church blood drive on Dec. 17.

Courtesy photo

MCCARTYVILLE — Give blood during the season of giving at the annual Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Knights of Columbus holiday blood drive Tuesday, Dec. 17, from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Activity Center, 9333 State Route 119, McCartyville.

Donors will not only get a free Blood Donor Winter Scarf, they can even put in a good word with Santa Claus. Make an appointment online at or call 937-461-3220.

It’s a tradition at Sacred Heart Parish to host a blood drive at Christmas time to help boost the holiday blood supply. It’s also a tradition to make the blood drive festive with Christmas music, hot sandwiches and soup, plus home-baked holiday cookies in the Donor Café. It should be even more festive when Santa Claus comes to donate.

Jim Goettemoeller from Botkins is a year-round blood donor who doubles as St. Nick during the holiday season. For nearly 40 years he made appearances at children’s parties in a worn red suit that appeared to have seen the inside of countless chimneys, and a leather belt of jingle bells borrowed from Santa’s sleigh.

He could also be counted on to bound into the Sacred Heart blood drive, handing out candy canes from his sack before settling into a donor bed and rolling up his red sleeve.

But in 2016 Goettemoeller answered a siren call to serve as professional Santa at a mega-mall in New York. Playing Santa nine hours a day meant no visit to McCartyville. He was lured far away again the next two seasons to play Santa in Massachusetts and Washington state.

“I tell you, every year was good,” said Goettemoeller. “I got motels, airplanes, everything. But when everything finished, I called and said, ‘You got anything closer?’”

An offer to play Santa back home in Miami County fell through, but Goettemoeller had already intended to make his 65th lifetime donation.

“I put down 2:30 p.m. for giving blood at Sacred Heart,” he said. “I got everything lined up for that! Red suit and everything.”

It’s a blast, I think!” Goettemoeller said, before pausing. “I have to allow for the suit though. That’s three years I put that suit away!”

Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish blood drives include the opportunity to donate platelets and plasma, which are critical for the treatment of cancer, trauma, transplant, and burn patients. Donors with blood types A, AB, or B positive are in high demand. Find out more at or talk to an apheresis specialist at 937-461-3220.

Blood donation requirements: Donors are required to provide a photo ID that includes their full name. Past CBC donors are also asked to bring their CBC donor ID card. Donors must be at least 17 years of age (16 years old with parental consent: form available at or at CBC branch & blood drive locations), weigh a minimum of 110 pounds (you may have to weigh more, depending on your height), and be in good physical health. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changes blood donor eligibility guidelines periodically. Individuals with eligibility questions are invited to email or call 1(800)388-GIVE. Make an appointment at

Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services is an independent, not-for-profit organization. Community Blood Center provides blood products to 23 hospitals and health centers within a 15-county service area in the Miami (Ohio) and Whitewater (Indiana) Valleys. For more information about Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services, visit

Santa will be visiting the Sacred Heart Church blood drive on Dec. 17. will be visiting the Sacred Heart Church blood drive on Dec. 17. Courtesy photo