Along with teaching students about compounds and elements for 25 years, chemistry teacher and Beta Club advisor Mary Lynn Zimpfer annually informs others about the importance of serving their community by donating blood at the bi-annual Red Cross blood drive at Cedar Shoals.
The first blood drive this school year took place on Oct. 20. During the event, 36 units of blood were donated to the Red Cross. Zimpfer hopes to get as many donations as possible, offering rewards to those who donate.
“For every 35 donations that we get, I get a $250 scholarship from the Red Cross to give to a student, and if we get 70 donations we get $500,” Zimpfer said. “I’m always shooting for that so I can give out scholarships.”
The second blood drive of the school year is scheduled for Feb. 9. Students 16 and older are eligible to donate with permission from a parent or guardian.
During the last blood drive, many students and faculty were turned away for being underweight or having low iron.
“If you’re female and 4 feet, 10 inches tall, you’d have to weigh 146 pounds to donate. So the weight limits are pretty high when you’re small,” Zimpfer said. “If you have low iron they don’t take your blood no matter the size.”
Tattoos and piercings used to be a big problem, as donors had to wait a year after receiving them to donate, but they have since lowered that requirement to three months.
On the day of the blood drive, Zimpfer recommends eating a meal and remembering to drink water before donating.
“If your appointment is at 8:30 a.m., you should eat breakfast and if your appointment is at 1:30 p.m., you should eat lunch,” Zimpfer said. “If you drink and your blood is well hydrated, then it flows better.”
The Red Cross now offers a feature to keep track of what hospital receives an individual’s blood donation. It also provides information on what antibodies are present in blood samples. The Red Cross continues to incentivize donations by giving away $10 Amazon gift cards.
Zimpfer has sent countless emails, taken over the announcements and created advisement presentations to promote the blood drive. She says it all comes down to helping others.
“It (the blood) goes to the hospitals. It doesn’t cost you anything except an hour,” Zimpfer said. “I can’t think of something that helps everybody more than blood.”
Looking to the future, Zimpfer wants to cater the event’s advertising more toward Cedar students.
“One thing we are trying to do is make a poster that has pictures of our student donors. It will be advertised on Instagram and Facebook and whatever gets it out into the community,” Zimpfer said.