GREENVILLE – The cuddly “sloth” doll was a donor favorite at the 24th annual Darke County Lions “Teddy & Friends Blood Drive.” But for Arcanum Lions Club member Bill Campbell, nothing lit up the holidays like the little white Teddy with the magic paw.
Bill and other members of the Arcanum, Gettysburg, and Pitsburg Lions Clubs volunteered at the Dec. 10 blood drive at the Greenville Church of the Brethren and helped purchase 110 stuffed animals for young patients at Wayne HealthCare. The Lions invited donors to choose a doll for a child and sign a gift tag with messages of encouragement.
One lucky child will get a unique Teddy, if Bill can “bear” to part with it.
“It’s the one I can’t give away. It lights up!” he said as he squeezed the paw of the white Teddy Bear and watched colored Christmas lights inside the doll glow. “I’m going to steal it! Ain’t that cute? It’s the only one of all the bears that has lights!”
Along with the many good wishes, the blood drive totaled 98 whole blood donors and 87 donations, plus 14 platelet and plasma donations.
“It’s fun to meet all the people and know we’re doing something for the community, the hospital, and there’s always a need for blood,” said Arcanum Lions volunteer Darwin Rhoades. “It’s all the Lions clubs in the county,” said Pitsburg Lions volunteer David Kepler. “We’ve been doing it for 24 years.”
“I chose a tan puppy dog,” said Pitsburg donor Carolyn Hollinger, who made her 99th lifetime donation. Greenville’s Jane Flora signed a get well message but needed help from the Lions before deciding on a purple Unicorn doll. “He picked it for me,” she said. “I was taking too long.”
“We both picked sloths,” said Arcanum sisters Jessica Yarber and Maegann Layman. “It was our favorite,” said Jessica. “The last couple of times, we’ve donated together, and we signed up for the next one.”
Louis Grilliot came from Versailles to donate platelets for his 179th lifetime donation. He remembers being inspired to donate more than 40 years ago by the Kremer family in North Star. “Our neighbors had two boys that were hemophiliacs. They always needed blood,” said Louis. “Once you get started you keep doing it and try to increase doing it.”
Louis said he hopes to catch up to fellow platelet donor Ivan Patterson, who settled into the donor bed next to Louis at the Lions Club blood drive to make his 537th lifetime donation. “My next goal is to get to 600 by my 95th birthday,” said Ivan.
Mary Ann Ridenour from Greenville celebrated her 75th lifetime donation. “It started with by dad,” she said. “We had an aunt that needed blood and dad started, then my sisters and me, and his brother. We’d all go, and we carry on the tradition.”
Helping save lives and helping put smiles on the faces of young hospital patients are both traditions at the Lions blood drive. Arcanum donor Jess Mayes showed her holiday spirit when she arrived to donate in reindeer antlers. She had been wearing them all day at the Dollar General store in Brookville.
“I had them on at work and meant to take them off!” said Jess. When it came time to choose a Teddy for a young hospital patient, Jess went with a favorite of both her seven-year old son and four-year old daughter. “They like the sloths!”
Make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com.