Teddy & Friends spans generations


GREENVILLE — The Darke County Lions Clubs kept the tradition of bringing smiles to young patients at Wayne HealthCare during the holidays and providing blood for all patients in need by sponsoring the 28th annual Teddy Bear & Friends Blood Drive Dec. 12 at the Greenville Church of the Brethren.

The Pitsburg, Arcanum, and Gettysburg Lions Clubs raised funds for the purchase of more than 100 stuffed animals. They volunteered at the blood drive, serving homemade cookies in the Donor Café, and inviting donors to pick a stuffed animal for a child receiving care at Wayne HealthCare then sign a tag with holiday wishes.

It was an important day to donate, with Solvita Blood Center facing a critical need for type O negative blood and low supply of multiple types with Christmas less than two weeks away. The blood drive totaled 82 donors, including 71 whole blood donors and 11 platelet and plasma donors.

Arcanum Lions Tony Davis and Winston Brumbaugh spent the afternoon volunteering. “Tomorrow we are all taking the bears over to the hospital,” said Tony.

“I’ve been a Lion for 45 years,” said Winston. “We have about 40 members. We’re always trying to get young folks. I’m 86 years old. I’m still working in my bakery every day!” Winston said it was his daughter’s idea to add the “Farmer’s Daughter Bakery” at the family’s Brumbaugh Fruit Farm. “My daughter started it, and I was the farmer,” he said. “She left it, and I ended up with it!”

Gail Bierly picked a doll and signed a tag after making her 133rd lifetime donation. She donated at Whirlpool during a career she said spanned, “40 years, eight months, and four hours! We started when we had the Life Leaders,” she said. “Several of us had a team at Whirlpool.”

Judy DeLonge from Gordon made her 57th lifetime donation and wrote a “Merry Christmas” message before attaching it to a brown teddy with a green ribbon.

“I think that’s a wonderful thing,” she said about honoring the Teddy and Friends tradition. “Sick kids being in the hospital at Christmas time or being in the hospital anytime. It’s not a fun time.”

The “Teddy Bears and Friends Blood Drive” is generational for Greenville donor Angie Via. “My daughter was in the hospital at Christmas time when she was less than a year old, and she got one of these,” Angie said as she held a stuffed tiger. “Now she’s 21.”

Make an appointment to donate with Solvita (formerly Community Blood Center) on the Donor Time app, by calling (937) 461-3220, or at www.donortime.com.

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