VERSAILLES – The second annual Steve Knapke Memorial Blood Drive on Monday in Versailles was a successful day of donations and marked an important year in the partnership between the Knapke family and the Versailles Poultry Days Committee.
The committee welcomed the Knapke family as co-sponsors a year ago to honor Versailles donor Steve Knapke. He was inspired to become a blood donor after surviving a 1988 auto accident. Another accident in 2016 claimed his life and injured his wife, Lois. Both accidents were caused by impaired drivers.
The partnership helped increase donor participation last year, and the trend continued at Monday’s blood drive. The Versailles community responded with 164 registrations and 129 whole blood donations, plus 11 platelet and plasma donations.
“We were so emotional last year,” said Knapke’s daughter Lisa DiRenzo.
The first memorial blood drive was just a year after Knapke’s death.
“Now we can feel more like it’s just a nice thing to do,” DiRenzo said. “It makes you feel good.”
It was an important year of healing for Lois Knapke. Her back was broken in the 2016 collision, and she continued to have severe headaches. Last winter she suffered a stroke and learned there was bleeding in her brain related to the accident.
“There was a time when I wondered if I would be here,” she said.
Lois Knapke has made a promising recovery. She joined daughters Lisa, Emmy and Rachel and son Doug in welcoming donors and serving homemade cookies in the Donor Café in the Versailles Knights of Columbus Hall.
“Anything that helps us to remember my dad in a good way,” said Rachel Durham, who made her first successful donation Monday. “He’s loved so much. As a family we don’t always get back here. We make the extra effort because he would be proud of it.”
The Versailles Poultry Days Committee members enjoy their collaboration with the Knapke family and also are celebrating 2018 as a special year in club history.
“We had record-breaking sales,” volunteer Jeff Lyons said. “We also sold the 1 millionth chicken and gave away a trip to Las Vegas.”
They all take satisfaction from seeing donors encouraged to help others at the Steve Knapke Memorial Blood Drive.
“It was on my bucket list to start donating,” said North Star donor Johna Hemmelgarn, who made her 10th lifetime donation Monday. “Needles are not my favorite thing. Now I see how even more important it is. I do it now especially to honor him. I guess he makes me braver.”
Donors can connect with Community Blood Center for the latest information and services at www.GivingBlood.org. Individuals can get fast and complete answers on how to make their first donation, organize a blood drive or bring Community Blood Center’s education program to a school. People can get all the updates in the CBC/CTS newsroom, find quick links to Community Blood Center’s social media pages or schedule an appointment to donate by connecting to www.DonorTime.com.
Donors are required to provide a photo ID that includes their full name. Past CBC donors also are 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 www.givingblood.org or at CBC branch and blood drive locations), weigh a minimum of 110 pounds (donors may have to weigh more, depending on their height) and be in good physical health. The Food and Drug Administration changes blood donor eligibility guidelines periodically. Individuals with eligibility questions are invited to email [email protected] or call 1(800)388-GIVE. Donors can make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com.
Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services is an independent, not-for-profit organization. Community Blood Center provides blood products to 25 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 www.givingblood.org.