Dorscht fam­ily con­tin­ues to pay it for­ward with lat­est blood drive

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - VERON­ICA REINER

The Dorscht fam­ily is con­tin­u­ing a five-year tra­di­tion to raise aware­ness for blood do­na­tions, some­thing Elmira has been fall­ing be­hind on as of late.

Kris­ten and Nick Dorscht are adopt­ing the blood clinic at the Elmira Lions Hall on Fri­day in honour of their daugh­ter, Ella, who was born with a heart de­fect called pul­monary hy­per­ten­sion. As a baby, Ella had to undergo open heart surgery and used more than 50 units of blood.

“We’ve col­lected about 400 units so far in Ella’s name,” said Kris­ten Dorscht. “Our ini­tial goal when we started was to get 50 be­cause Ella had used at least 50 as a baby, so we wanted to put back into the sys­tem what we had used. But we’ve re­ally sur­passed that. And even though we’ve put back in the sys­tem what we’ve used, the need never goes away. “

Over the past five years, there has been a no­tice­able de­crease in the num­ber of blood do­na­tions in Elmira. There was a monthly av­er­age of 132 units back in 2013, down to only 94 units in 2017. One unit is 488 millil­itres of blood.

“Do­na­tions have re­ally been down over the past cou­ple of years,” said Tara Gutscher of Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices. “We’re hop­ing with the help of Ella’s fam­ily adopt­ing the

clinic that it will re­ally bring some new folks in to do­nate, and help us save some lives.”

A per­son can do­nate blood ev­ery three months, to al­low the body to re­store its iron stock. The blood do­nated on Fri­day does not go di­rectly to Ella, as she does not re­quire any blood trans­fu­sions at this time. It will go to who­ever is in need.

While her con­di­tion can­not be cured en­tirely, Ella has ex­pe­ri­enced some pos­i­tive changes since last year.

“Ella has been on oxy­gen 24/7 ever since she was a baby,” ex­plained Dorscht. “And this sum­mer they’ve started tri­al­ing her on oxy­gen just at night. And that has made life won­der­ful for her. So she’s had a won­der­ful sum­mer. She’s had a won­der­ful start to the school year. She loves the free­dom, for sure. It’s a life-chang­ing step for her.”

Not hav­ing to wear the oxy­gen at school has given her a fresh start to the school year. It al­lows her to pur­sue ac­tiv­i­ties like bike rid­ing and swim­ming with ease. Fur­ther­more, a teacher is not re­quired to fol­low her at re­cess with the oxy­gen.

This all came about when Ella was run­ning around with ex­cess en­ergy in the doc­tor’s of­fice wait­ing room.

“We were at our reg­u­lar ap­point­ment at Sick Kids,” said Dorscht. “And she was run­ning around the room like crazy. We were in the wait­ing room for hours and hours, and she just had the en­ergy to burn. She was lit­er­ally run­ning laps with her brother.

“The doc­tors asked if she al­ways had this much en­ergy, and we told them, yes she does. So they sug­gested that we take off her oxy­gen in the mean­time. Be­cause a kid with that much en­ergy prob­a­bly doesn’t need to be on it. We’ll keep her on the oxy­gen at night be­cause you ben­e­fit from us­ing it while you’re rest­ing. It makes your heart work less hard.”

The blood drive will take place on Oc­to­ber 26 from 2:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 40 South St. W. There will be draw for prizes as part of the day’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Peo­ple can walk in or can make an ap­point­ment be­fore­hand; it’s re­ally what works best for them,” added Gutscher.

Any­one in­ter­ested in learn­ing more or book­ing an ap­point­ment can visit


With a blood drive in the name of their daugh­ter Ella, seen here with mom Kris­ten and brother Cameron, the Dorschts are look­ing to re­verse a trend in the num­ber of blood donors in Elmira. They’ll be tak­ing part in a blood drive to­mor­row (Fri­day) at Lions Hall.

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