Blood donors & Merrimack church help fill shortage
Friday, January 18, 2013
The American Red Cross is in dire need of donors and Merrimack’s St. John Neumann Blood Drive answers the call every two weeks.
Tom Houle, account executive at the Red Cross who also runs the St. John Neumann Blood Drive, said several people contribute.
Merrimack resident Jeff Ditman is one of the blood drive’s regular donors. He has been donating blood since 1976, and has been doing so regularly since 2004.
“I donate as a form of charitable giving,” Ditman said. “I often hear news reports of blood shortages so I feel I am doing a small part to help alleviate the shortage. The donations give me a sense of satisfaction in that I am helping to supply blood for surgical procedures and other medical needs.”
Ditman has donated seven gallons and five pints so far, and has had to wait at least 56 days between donations because of regulations.
“My next donation is scheduled for Feb. 19,” Ditman said.
While donors are the largest part of the blood drive, and more are always needed, other people have contributed.
According to Houle, the St. John Neumann Blood Drive is different from others because the facility provides breakfast for its donors.
For three years, Bow residents Bill and Leigh Mullen have been giving in their own way by continuing the tradition of serving breakfast at the blood drive twice a month.
“It started before we got there and we decided to keep it going,” Bill Mullen said. “It’s who we are. It’s our way of giving back to people who donate.”
As part of the breakfast, Leigh Mullen bakes food such as banana bread.
“We decided homemade things were more healthy,” she said. “People enjoy the homemade thing. I like to cook and use my mother’s and grandmother’s recipes.”
Another contributor is Chris Kachmar, owner of The Pizza Kitchen located near St. John Neumann Church. Kachmar donates about three to five pizza lunches at a time, making sure donors are well fed before leaving the blood drive.
“Blood donation is the act of giving life and this is just a small contribution,” Kachmar said. “Donating blood may be one of the most important things anyone can do.”
For those who would like to go to the next blood drive at the St. John Neumann Church will be from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, offering breakfast and pizza from The Pizza Kitchen for donors.
“This time is a great time of year to donate,” Houle said. “People who are looking to do something good for someone else can come and donate the gift of life.”
To donate, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, visit www.redcrossblood.org, or donate as a walk-in at the St. John Neumann Church Blood Drive.