Columbiana blood drive sees record turnout

By SASHA JOHNS / Community Columnist

On April 17, the Mollie Wilder Blood Drive took place in Columbiana as scheduled prior to the world-changing grip of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Volunteer blood drive organizer Renee Wilder understood the need to maintain the blood supply well before the pandemic began because of her own experience with a short supply when her own daughter was in need after a round of chemo.

Wilder began the drive in 2013 as a way not only to meet the demand for blood, but also as an opportunity for Shelby County High School students to possibly earn a scholarship for college.

The number of units donated at each blood drive made scholarships possible through the Red Cross organization.

Unsure of how the turnout would be for this most recent drive due to the widespread fear of catching the coronavirus, Wilder and the students did their best to get the word out far and wide about the importance of this particular event to the Red Cross, and the safety measures that would be in place to protect donors.
They were overwhelmed at the record-breaking turnout of donors at the event.

When asked why she came out, Madelyn Carden of Columbiana, also a past scholarship intern, said, “I personally understand how much hard work goes into these drives, so I wanted to be there for this year’s interns since things were potentially so hard.”
There were three scholarship candidates this year: Anna Martin, Rachel Whitner and Wyatt Miskelly.

We caught up with Miskelly, who along with his mom worked the door to the blood drive, screening potential donors about foreign travel and safely checking temperatures before they could be processed for donation.

“I am really thankful for the scholarship, and the people that have shown up,” Miskelly said. “It’s really going to help me go where I want to go now. A lot were family, but so many others were just really good friends. It feels good.”

Account Manager Angela Jackson of the Red Cross also expressed gratitude for those who attended.

“We are so thankful for the support of the community in helping us maintain our blood supply,” she said. “The turnout has been great despite the pandemic, and we hope to do this again and again.”

Seventy-five units of blood were collected at the drive. That is thirty-three units over the conservative goal they’d set of 42.

Seventy-five units will potentially help 220 individuals as each unit can serve up to three individuals.

“I cannot say a big enough thank you,” Wilder said, “To everyone who endured the wait, and just hung in there to make this blood drive amazing.”