Greencastle Rotarians serve others by donating blood

Greencastle Rotary Club members, from left, Rachel Grimm, Cindy Marconi, Julie Statler and Scott Slick, joined other residents at the American Red Cross blood drive.

A community service event for Greencastle Rotary was a little out of the ordinary Monday. Several members of the club met at 2 p.m. at Greencastle Church of the Brethren to donate blood at the American Red Cross blood drive.

For two people, it was the first time. Said Scott Slick, “I guess no one ever personally asked me before. It sounded like a good idea.”

Cindy Marconi wondered about the whole experience. “If it doesn’t go well, it may be my last,” she joked.

Rachel Grimm suggested the group participation. “We are doing this to give back to the community.”

Julie Statler donated blood frequently at a former employer. The company was large enough to sponsor its own drive, and employees took time out of their schedule to make donations. In recent years driving to a donor site was not as convenient for her.

Paul Schemel donated periodically, but the Rotary activity spurred him to get to the Oct. 1 drive in Greencastle.

The Rotarians went through the traditional approval process established by the Red Cross. They registered at the front desk and read over educational materials, and then met privately with a nurse. They were checked for temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin; and then answered a health history questionnaire on a computer. When a gurney or chair opened up, they were called for the actual donation.

“I like to do the Double Red,” said Grimm. “But it takes twice as long.”

That procedure takes out twice the amount of red blood cells, but the plasma is returned to the body. The donors sit in a reclining chair for an hour or so. The majority of people give about a pint of blood as they lay on the table.

While waiting to be called, Statler mentioned the finger prick for the hemoglobin test.

“What’s that?” asked Slick. “I thought it was one jab and you’re done.”

He stuck around for the actual donation, in which a needle was inserted into his arm at the inside of the elbow. Everything went well.

“It’s been perfect. I’ll do this again.”

He is eligible in 56 days.

Marconi was rejected for a low iron count, a common reason donors are turned down.

“I’ll definitely try again,” she said.

Grimm was able to donate only one pint, since there was a problem getting the plasma back into her veins.

Based on the four donations, according to the American Red Cross, up to 12 lives were saved.