Tupper student organizes blood drive

TUPPER LAKE – One hour of your life could save someone else’s.

People streamed into the basement of the Goff-Nelson Memorial Library from noon until 6 p.m. Thursday afternoon to donate a pint of their blood to the American Red Cross.

Attendance at the event was largely due to the efforts of Tupper Lake High School senior Emily Mitchell, who took on a campaign of getting the word out by hanging up posters and calling past donors to remind them that their contributions were needed once again.

“At first I was a little bit scared to do it because I didn’t want people to think I was being annoying, but people responded really well,” Mitchell said. “They definitely appreciate being asked face-to-face or when you go to their house, instead of just sending an email or putting up posters.”

Red Cross volunteer Allen Trombley contacted the high school and asked Principal Matt Southwick if any students would be interested in getting involved. Mitchell volunteered to do it.

Trombley has been donating blood for 45 years, since he served in the Army as an orthopedic cast specialist during the Vietnam War. The more wounded soldiers he saw, the more he realized the importance of giving blood.

“When I was in the service, we were encouraged to give blood,” Trombley said. “It was hard not to think about who you were helping when you were seeing them every day.”

Trombley has given 19 gallons of blood in his life. It is a total that grows every year, pint by pint.

He said the process is painless, but the benefit to others is huge. Donated blood is used to help accident victims, trauma patients, transplant recipients and those receiving treatment for life-threatening illness.

Despite all medical, scientific and technological advances, there is still no substitute for blood. Its only source is a volunteer donor.

“It was horrible to see something like 9/11, but it was great to see all the people lined up to help others,” Trombley said. “It was nice to see that so much blood was given, but we need blood every day.”

According to the Red Cross, someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds. The share of the U.S. population eligible to donate blood is 38 percent; of that 38 percent only 5 percent actually donate.

The next blood drive in Tupper Lake will be held at the library on May 22. To learn more, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org.

Contact Shaun Kittle at 891-2600 ext. 25 or skittle@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.