SWEETWATER COUNTY — “Across the state of Wyoming, no one has even come close to these numbers.”
That’s what United Blood Services Senior Donor Recruitment Representative Sandy Thomas said of a combined 701 pints of blood that were donated thanks to Green River and Rock Springs high schools.
“For the size of Rock Springs and Green River, to be able to collect that much is fascinating,” said Thomas, who works with other states, too. “It’s (in) 24 hours that my team collected all that blood ... it’s just really impressive.”
It has grown so big, Thomas had to borrow staff from as far as Rapid City, South Dakota.
“So that’s like impressive in of itself,” Thomas said.
The 701 donated pints means that 2,103 lives will be saved, Thomas said Jan. 25 at Tiger Gym, between the girls and boys basketball games between the schools.
And that’s adults — “seven babies” can be spared per pint, Thomas told the Rocket-Miner.
“People don’t get it when they go in and do education classes or just information classes, because people don’t know blood donations,” Thomas said. “They are like ‘one pint of blood can save what?!’”
Student council members
GRHS Student Council Member Holly Hunt was among other volunteers who gave 15 to 20 hours for the cause, expressed through a competition between the high schools. Green River edged Rock Springs by 13 pints.
“It was good to win the last one,” said Hunt, a senior. “It’s really rewarding that all that work pays off. We would go out into the community and get people to sign up.”
Fellow GRHS Student Council Member Megan York said that the council members would be at “different places,” including Smith’s, “three hours a night.”
“Thanks, everyone, who donated so we could win,” York said.
Thomas called the blood drive for each school’s student councils “their baby.”
“This is strictly the student councils who are running this event,” she said. “It is quite interesting because they get quite creative when they are competing.”
That includes cold calls, besides that they “pretty must set up little tables” to ask for blood donations, as York referenced.
“They really put out a lot of time in reaching out to the communities,” Thomas added. “The communities basically answer.”
The student councils and Thomas often don’t see each other for the last time in high school, as Thomas will see many students later at the University of Wyoming, with whom Thomas works.
“Freshman-up and onto college,” Thomas said, “these leaders are going on and doing the right thing.”
On the 10th anniversary of the drive, which is shared by other 4A schools in Wyoming, “it came fast — faster than I thought,” Thomas said. “We’ve had a lot of fun, and it’s been fun growing each year and seeing the growth as we go ... it will be fun to see the growth in year 15 or year 20.”
Of the 10 years, Thomas said “that’s a big deal ... who would have known in the first year or second year?”
Thomas hosts blood drives once per month in the Sweetwater County community. And for the fourth straight year, there will be a “Battle of the Badges” in June, where emergency responders compete for donations like the schools do.