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PERRY COUNTY - Tell City and Perry Central elementary students were given opportunities in recent weeks to stir people in their lives into action to help save others.
"We and Perry Central are having blood drives on back-to-back weekends," explained Stacy Fleck, nurse for the Tell City-Troy Township School Corp. Scheduled for April 25 and May 2, the drives weren't open to the general public, she said, so participating students get all of the credit.
"The main recruiters are the kids, who are getting people out there to do the right thing," Fleck said.
Students took pledge cards home, and the returns were better than she expected.
"I was shooting for 60 people (pledging), and we got 90," she said two days before the drive at William Tell Elementary School.
Called Pint Size Heroes, the program starts with a Red Cross representative reading a story to the potential recruiters. The students, who won't be able to donate themselves until older, could then solicit help from everyone with whom they have connections, such as relatives and neighbors.
"We had some older siblings donate, which is kind of neat," Fleck said.
It's not unusual for pledges to outnumber donors, and 74 showed up at the William Tell drive. Out of them came 66 "good units" of blood, Fleck said. That kind of deficit isn't unusual, either, the nurse said. One potential donor was turned away because she revealed she'd be running in a mini-marathon a week after her planned donation. Low iron or the use of certain medications are other disqualifying factors.
The weekends during which the blood drives were planned were busy ones for a lot of people, Fleck said, so she's considering scheduling them earlier in the year next year. Conflicts with the Dogwood Festival, for example, prevented Cannelton City Schools from participating this year, she explained.
"Maybe we'll do it before spring break, because things get crazy afterward," she said.
Students from health-occupations classes and parents helped in the donation centers.
Saturday's drive, under the auspices of Perry Central Nurse Mary Jo Carter, yielded 33 good units from 35 donors, "so we got 99 good units from the community," Fleck said Monday.
"It went wonderfully," she said. Students were excited to be able to have their parents donate, and the parents liked having the opportunity to give."