Troy, Piqua up to challenge of reviving Challenge Blood Drive


For the Miami Valley Today

MIAMI COUNTY — The return of the 23rd annual Troy-Piqua Challenge Blood Drive after the disruptions of COVID-19 began with Troy and Piqua High hosting blood drives on Oct. 25. The numbers and rituals have changed, but the spirit remains the same.

The last challenge in 2019 set a record with 509 donors, including 121 first-time donors. Piqua was the challenge champion and received a $1,000 award from sponsor US Bank at the Troy-Piqua rival football game.

The goal was more modest this fall as more high schools across the Community Blood Center region gradually return to hosting blood drives. Troy and Piqua combined for 117 donors, including 93 blood donations and 65 first-time donors.

“It’s a victory that we’re standing here,” said Jennifer Limke, coordinator for the Troy High blood drive and advisor for the sponsor ASTRA club. Both schools have new blood drive coordinators and Piqua has a new student sponsor organization.

“The past two years, because of COVID, they moved the Troy-Piqua game,” said Limke. “Instead of the last game, it was the first game of the year. We didn’t do the rivalry this year because we couldn’t have the blood drives at the time we normally do when they wanted to have the game early because of COVID restrictions.”

ASTRA club president Morgan Kaiser was glad to see Troy return to hosting blood drives. “It was really cool last spring when we were able to have one,” said Kaiser. “It’s such a big event to put on. It was a sign that things were getting back to normal.”

Algebra teacher Peggy Clendening retired in 2013 but substitutes at Troy and supports the school blood drives. She made her 83rd lifetime donation Monday.

“I think it would be meaningful to keep it going,” she said about the challenge. “I love the idea. I think it’s a meaningful idea, especially for introducing high school kids to donating.”

Students in the Health Career Lab under coordinator Ashley Beck hosted Monday’s blood drive at Piqua High. “Our teacher wanted us to experience it,” said HCL volunteer Sydnee Hawk. “It was very new to us. We’re all coming together to get people to come to the drive.”

The HCL found sponsors for refreshments and raffle prizes. “In the beginning, it was hard because people are scared of needles,” said Hawk, “but they heard us talk about it and started to come around.”

Senior Allison Wynn is an HCL student who volunteered at the drive and made her first donation. “I hope this will transfer to our next drive in March,” she said, “when we get some of the 15 year-olds who weren’t able to donate.”

Senior HCL volunteer Jason Schaffer also made his first donation Monday. He hopes the Troy-Piqua Challenge will continue long after he has graduated.

“I think it’s good,” said Jason. “Competition always sparks interest. It pushes you, the thing of trying to do better than someone else. Even if it’s just for bragging rights, it can still get good things done.”

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