Blood drive organizers hope for turnout
Nearly three years ago, just days before Christmas, Donald and Rozanne Stringham of Ridgebury Township learned that Donald had cancer.
In June 2010, Stringham underwent a transplant at the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. The procedure involved separating stem cells from his plasma and transplanting new ones into his main artery.
The transplant helped with the treatment of Stringham's multiple myeloma, a cancer that begins in the plasma cells of bone marrow and makes it difficult for patients to grow healthy bone cells and platelets.
Doctors were able to use Stringham's own blood to perform the transplant, but not everyone has that option, he said. "I can see the extreme need for blood," he said.
Stringham is "a very upbeat person," said Pat Anthony, coordinator of the annual Ridgebury-South Creek Community Blood Drive, adding that he is well-liked in the township. "He's a good guy."
Many people don't realize that the many parts of donated blood can be used, Anthony said. One pint can help between three and five people, she said.
This year's blood drive will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the community hall on Berwick Turnpike. Anthony said organizers hoped to pull in voters headed to the polls for Election Day. The number of donors has been down in recent years, and "we want to get them up again," Anthony said.
Stringham, who still has cancer in his skull, continues to take a chemotherapy pill three weeks out of each month and will learn of his treatment's progress at a doctor's visit next month, he said. He and his wife celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday.
Although neither Donald or Rozanne can give blood for medical reasons, Rozanne bakes cookies for the blood drive each year, and both work to promote the drive. Several relatives are regular donors as well, Stringham said. "We try to help out when we can," he said.
Donors may be as young as 17 years old with parental consent and must weigh at least 110 pounds to give blood, Anthony said. Donors also fill out a questionnaire and receive a brief examination to make sure they are physically able to give blood, she said. Donors will receive homemade sandwiches, cookies and drinks.
Anthony, who herself has given over 10 gallons of blood, said donors will help the American Red Cross meet a great need. "It's a good feeling to know you're helping people," Anthony said.
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.