January 14, 2016

SUNY Empire Student Teams with Red Cross for Chance at Scholarship

This Story Originally Appeared in the Lockport Union-Sun Journal

Lockport student Melissa Boes organizes blood drive for Red Cross
Student Melissa Boes gives blood as part of the American Red Cross “Leaders Save Lives” scholarship program. Photo by Joed Viera, staff photographer for the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

‌This story originally appeared in the Lockport Union-Sun Journal on Jan. 14, 2016, and was reported by Anne Calos.

Thirty-four people braved the snow and cold winds Tuesday to donate blood at the Dale Association. The drive was sponsored by Melissa Boes as part of the American Red Cross “Leaders Save Lives” scholarship program. Boes had hoped to get 70 donors, but she is grateful for every person who showed up.

“I was flattered and overwhelmed at the turnout for such a cold, snowy day. We saved up to 102 lives with all of our donations yesterday. I also want to thank the Red Cross and all of the employees who worked so diligently with the donors. They are always so kind and helpful, whenever people go to donate,” Boes said.

The 34 donors make Boes, a SUNY Empire State College student, eligible for a drawing for a $1,000 scholarship; she will also receive a $50 gift card for her efforts.

Boes, who has been a blood donor for the past 10 years, said she decided to get involved with the program not only for the scholarship, but also to help raise much-needed blood donations during a time when they traditionally drop off.

Boes was on hand at the drive to chat with donors and volunteers. She also rolled up her sleeve and donated herself. Boes' “double red” blood donation takes about twice as long as a traditional donation, but yields twice as many red blood cells, the most transfused blood component. In the double red cell process, the donor is hooked up to machine that separates the red blood cells and then returns the plasma and platelets back to the donor through a separate needle. Boes said the process isn’t painful, but does feel different.

“When the plasma comes back in, it feels kind of tingly, almost like menthol,” Boes said.

One of the donors at the drive was Boes’ dad, George Boes, who hadn’t donated blood in decades.

“I donated when I was in the service, but I just never really got around to it after that. But Melissa donates all the time. I came to help her out, but I really hope that maybe somebody will get my blood and it will help out,” Boes said.

Boes’ mom, Rosie, had never given blood before, but she also came out to support her daughter.

“Both of my parents donated, so that was great having a positive influence on them to come out … it was my mom’s first time, what a champ,” Boes said.

Donation Center Account Manager Shawn M. O’Hargan helped Boes set up the drive.

“We are here at the Dale Association twice and month, and they are wonderful to work with. We always look forward to coming here,” O’Hargan said.

Boes said O’Hargan’s help was invaluable.

“Shawn O’Hargan was a huge help as well. She stayed the whole time to ease me into the sponsor role. She also provided the coffee, donuts and pizza for everyone. I enjoyed sponsoring this drive and I will do it again just for fun. It was such a rewarding experience,” Boes said.

Photo credit: Joed Viera, staff photographer for Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

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