Fam­ily en­cour­ages lo­cals to roll up sleeves and do­nate blood at Elmira clinic later this month

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - FAISAL ALI

IF YOU DO­NATED BLOOD in the sum­mer of 2013, says Elmira mother Kris­ten Dorscht, then you might have given the very same units that kept her new­born daugh­ter Ella alive. It’s a pow­er­ful thought, and one that Dorscht hopes will mo­ti­vate veteran donors and new­com­ers alike to roll up their sleeves and give a pint or two.

On Oc­to­ber 28, be­tween 2-8 p.m., Dorscht and her hus­band Nick are en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery­one to come by the Elmira Lions Hall to do­nate ... and pos­si­bly save a life. In the process, peo­ple will be able to join in a raf­fle to win sev­eral prizes in­clud­ing tick­ets for the Elmira Sugar Kings, all cour­tesy of the Dorschts’ ef­forts.

“You re­ally never ex­pect that you or some­one that you love is going to need blood,” said Dorscht.

Cer­tainly, she says, they never ex­pected their daugh­ter would need more than 50 units of blood in the first two months of her life – but they were sure glad it was there. After Ella re­ceived the blood she needed to sur­vive, the fam­ily de­cided they wanted to re­turn the quan­tity they’d re­ceived by en­cour­ag­ing oth­ers to do­nate.

“We had said for years be­fore Ella was born that do­nat­ing blood was some­thing that we should do, but we never went. Like a lot of peo­ple, we’re busy with our jobs, and you’re busy with your fam­ily and we ... never got around to it,” said Dorscht. Ella’s ar­rival changed all that. The call for do­na­tions is es­pe­cially sig­nif­i­cant right now be­cause do­na­tions have been steadily de­clin­ing over the past few years at the Elmira blood donor clinic. Since the start of 2017, for ex­am­ple, the clinic has fre­quently been fall­ing be­low their de­sired goal of 115 units a month, hit­ting on av­er­age 89 units. In 2013, by con­trast, in the first nine months of the year the blood clinic re­ceived 128 units on av­er­age ev­ery month.

Tara Gutscher, the area man­ager for Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices, says part of the rea­son do­na­tions are down may be the more strin­gent rules on giv­ing blood. In par­tic­u­lar, she notes, last De­cem­ber Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices changed how of­ten fe­males were able to do­nate. Women have to wait 84 days be­tween do­na­tions, com­pared with males who may do­nate ev­ery 56 days, in or­der to main­tain their he­mo­glo­bin and iron lev­els.

“So since that hap­pened, our do­na­tions in Elmira have dropped se­verely. So it’s be­cause fe­males aren’t able to come out as of­ten. Pos­si­bly hus­bands and wives or friends were do­nat­ing to­gether, so the males [don’t come out as of­ten any­more as well],” said Gutscher.

“Hon­estly, lately we have not been reach­ing [our goal]. So we do need to find some ex­tra sup­port in the com­mu­nity. That’s why it’s so im­por­tant when peo­ple like Nick and Kris­ten come for­ward and are will­ing to help us pro­mote. So we re­ally need new donors in Elmira or peo­ple who haven’t do­nated in a while to come out and give it a try again.”

Dorscht like­wise stresses the im­por­tance of do­nat­ing, es­pe­cially if peo­ple meet the cri­te­ria.

“The rea­son I think it’s so im­por­tant is that … the need never goes away,” she said. “There’s peo­ple that need blood ev­ery sin­gle day.”

This will be the Dorschts third year spon­sor­ing the clinic. In the pre­vi­ous two years since they started, the clinic was able to meet or ex­ceed their monthly goal. Dorscht is hop­ing this year will be the same.

Ella, mean­while, at 4 years of age, has started school. She has pul­monary hy­per­ten­sion and a heart de­fect that keeps her wear­ing her oxy­gen tube, con­nected to a metal tank, but Dorscht says that has hardly slowed her down.

“The school has been ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic,” Dorscht added.

The blood donor clinic will be run­ning on Oc­to­ber 28 be­tween 2-8 p.m. at the Lions Hall in Elmira. Dorscht will be there to thank peo­ple, and even lit­tle Ella may make an ap­pear­ance (de­pend­ing, of course, on her busy sched­ule).

[SUB­MIT­TED]

Pul­monary hy­per­ten­sion forces Ella Dorscht to re­main con­nected to oxy­gen tanks.

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