‘Giving starts’ with high school donors, but slows in summer


DAYTON – Solvita welcomed a new generation of blood donors in the 2023-2024 school year with nearly 12,000 students supporting high school blood drives during the “Giving Starts with You!” campaig.

Now with high schools on hiatus until fall, Solvita must depend on the community to make up for the summer shortfall of student donors, said a press release from the organization.

From September to May, high school donors represented 18% of all Solvita blood donations, and 60% of all first time donors.

“We miss our high school blood drives during the summer months, and we are feeling the impact already,” said Solvita Vice President for Donor Services Tracy Morgan, in the release. “We have a critical shortage of type O blood because of multiple recent events requiring transfusions.”

“We are asking existing donors and new donors to fill the gap,” said Morgan. “We encourage high school students to keep donating over the summer months, along with on the entire community to help prevent a critical shortage of blood.”

Schedule an appointment to donate with Solvita, formerly Community Blood Center, on the Donor Time app, by calling 937-461-3220, or at www.donortime.com.

Solvita’s 2023-2024 “Giving Starts with You!” campaign began with Monroe Central High School hosting the first blood drive on Sept. 6 and ended with the final blood drive of the school year at Greenon High School on May 16.

During the school year 123 high schools participated in the Solvita High School Blood Drive program by hosting 255 blood drives, registering 11,901 donors, collecting 9,460 donations, and welcoming 4,935 first time donors.

Wayne High School began the school year as the reigning champion of Solvita high school blood drives and finished the year tied with the Miami Valley Career Technology Center for most donors.

Co-champions Wayne and MVCTC each totaled 391 donor registrations. MVCTC’s two blood drives collected 308 units and included 163 first time donors. Wayne’s three blood drives collected 296 units and totaled 146 first time donors.

Kettering Fairmont High ranked third overall with two blood drives totaling 353 donors. Fairfield High was fourth with three blood drives totaling 348 donors. Centerville High ranked fifth with two blood drives totaling 239 donors.

The COVID-19 pandemic is blamed for a 60% decrease in 16-18 year olds blood donations nationwide from 2019 to 2021. Solvita saw a decline of about 17%.

Solvita high school donors rose 10% in 2022-2023, but only 1% in 2023-2024, although the number of high schools hosting blood drives rose 18%.

“We consider these students our donors of tomorrow,” said Morgan. “We know those who make their first blood donation in high school are more likely to become lifetime donors. The wellness of our community depends on it.”

Blood donation requirements: Donors are required to provide a photo ID that includes their full name. Past Solvita donors are also asked to bring their Solvita donor ID card. Donors must be at least 17 years of age (16 years old with parental consent: form available at www.solvita.org or at the Dayton Donation Center and mobile blood drive locations), weigh a minimum of 110 pounds (you may have to weigh more depending on your height), and be in good physical health. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changes blood donor eligibility guidelines periodically. Individuals with eligibility questions can email [email protected] or call 937-461-3220. Make an appointment at www.DonorTime.com.

Solvita is an independent, not-for-profit organization with the mission of taking life further and making a lasting impact on the world by providing lifesaving and life-enhancing blood products and tissue grafts.

As a regional blood center headquartered in Dayton, Ohio Solvita collects, processes, and provides blood products to partner hospitals and health centers within our 18-county service area of western Ohio and eastern Indiana and to select hospitals and blood centers outside the region.

As a global tissue center Solvita provides services to donor families, medical communities, recipients, OPOs, and community partners through recovery, processing, and distribution of tissue grafts. We are a national tissue network with locations in Dayton, Ohio (Corporate Office); Fort Worth, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Portland and Medford, Oregon; Toledo, Ohio; and Boise, Idaho. For more information visit www.Solvita.org.

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