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Bloodhounds hold annual drive, donations downTell North Platte what you think
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Koubek as T-Rex the recruiter
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Cassie Condon
Photo by Joe Chitwood
Kathy Schweitzer and Jamaica Riley

Dressed in a T-Rex costume, Amanda Koubek stood on the side of U.S. Highway 83 Wednesday afternoon, outside the Quality Inn & Suites hotel.

Koubek, the Red Cross Midwest Blood Services Region Donor Recruitment Manager, enthusiastically displayed a sign advertising the annual Bloodhounds blood drive to motorists.

It’s part of the effort that goes into the annual donor day, sponsored by the North Platte Rotary Club.

Last year, 120 pints were collected. The Bloodhounds Drive typically brings in up to one-third of what the Red Cross will collect in North Platte in April.

There were 69 pre-scheduled appointments Wednesday, a healthy start -- but traffic was kind of slow Wednesday morning, which concerned her.

“Historically it has been really busy in the mornings,” she said.

By the end of the day, 98 pints were donated -- a decrease of nearly 20%.

The average age of donors is 55 years old, so the base of regular donors is shrinking, she said.

“As they get older, they have more medical issues and retire as donors. We need to get more young people involved,” she said.

Rotary Bloodhound Committee Chairwoman Cassie Condon said that the project started as a Leadership Lincoln County project, as an answer to a challenge to do something to better the community.

That was years ago, she said. The team evolved into a Rotary group.

Condon said a committee of six organizes the drive, and the entire Rotary group takes part.

“Our Rotary group has over 100 people who volunteer,” she said, “so it doesn’t take much work to put this together, with everyone doing their part.”

Everyone who gives blood signs up, supporting a team of their choice.

“Teams were created by businesses, who chose a local charity or non-profit group,” Condon said. “The top three winning teams receive prize money from Rotary that they give to their charity.”

“You can see how the drive has evolved,” she said. “Not only are we helping get blood for the Red Cross, but we are donating back to the community.”

Koubek said statistics show that every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, and the Midwest Red Cross region supplies hospitals in a wide area.

“We take care of our county first, then we supply McCook, Grant, Callaway, Broken Bow, Kearney, Valentine and other hospitals,” she said. “We go all the way from Omaha and out into Colorado, taking care of three in Denver and one in Julesburg.”

Kathy Schweitzer of Arnold, a regular blood donor, donated double red cells Wednesday.

Schweitzer decided to participate in the Bloodhounds Drive because she is a member of Rotary – “not here, but it kind of drew me here. I usually give at the Red Cross center.”

 “I think everyone who can, should donate,” she said. “It is so simple and just takes an hour or two of your time.”

Red Cross employee Jamaica Riley said Schweitzer gives double red cells and in return gets plasma and saline.

“I have never done this type before, it takes about 45 minutes,” Schweitzer said.

Among contributions from businesses, Great Plaints Health donated box lunches. The Canteen donated chili and First National Bank gave water, Koubek said.

Koubek said a gentleman last week gave his 203rd pint of blood.

 “If you give a pint of blood, you can save three lives,” she said. “If someone misses today but still wants to donate, they can visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.”

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/12/2017
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