MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 8, 2013

Sadler kids help in blood drive

Too young to donate, they work as greeters, aides

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Sadler Arts Academy teacher Jenny Jamison had a special pride watching her third-graders greet and serve donors at a blood drive Monday at the school.

She remembered how donated blood saved her life three years ago after a problem pregnancy.

“I am the recipient of blood donations,” Jamison said. “When my daughter was born three years ago, I needed 36 units of blood and blood products. You’re humbled a little bit when you receive that much blood.”

Jamison coordinated the Pint-Size Hero blood drive Monday at Sadler. Approximately 50 donors participated.

She said she got the idea when she talked with a Red Cross blood drive coordinator, who suggested having such a drive at the school.

“My students could work it,” Jamison said. “I wanted them to experience putting together something for someone else. They’re greeters, signing people in, serving refreshments. They’re also asking gobs of questions about what everything is.”

Sadler students, who are too young to give blood, also recruited family, friends and neighbors to donate blood.

A couple of minutes after the Monday afternoon drive started, third-grader Ashlen Freeman boasted, “Mrs. Jamison, we have 10 people signed up already.”

Donors streamed in from 2 to 6 p.m. Some were Sadler teachers, who donated while their students watched.

Sixth-grade teacher Jessica Hiseley said she hadn’t given blood in years, but she was going to try Monday.

“I tend to be anemic,” she said.

Hiseley’s mother, Jennifer Gaddy, also gave blood.

“My two grandchildren go to school at Sadler,” she said. “We’ve got a family thing going on here.”

Gaddy, a registered nurse, said she knows the importance of giving blood and she does it when she can.

“Our blood supplies are constantly being drained. We need our reserves built up,” she said. “I’m a type O negative, which is considered a universal donor. I’m very popular, and they call me frequently.”

Jamison said her students had been planning the drive for several weeks.

“We did a lot of talking, planning, asking questions,” she said. “They made posters, made banners to get them used to promoting.”

Students’ vocabulary and spelling words have focused on the human body this year.

“So a lot of words are about blood,” Jamison said.

She recalled her need for blood when she was giving birth to her fourth child.

She went to what was then Muskogee Regional Medical Center for what was supposed to be a routine Cesarean section.

However, she began hemorrhaging. Jamison said she was suffering from a percreta, a rare, but life-threatening, disorder.

“My placenta was passing through my uterus and into my bladder,” she said. “Most women die when they have a percreta. They called in five different doctors. I was losing so much blood so fast.”

A 2011 story in the Muskogee Phoenix said Jamison received 13 units of blood, plus 36 units of platelets.

Jamison has since sought to stress the importance of giving blood. She said her church, Timothy Baptist Church, has had a blood drive every year.

Sadler is one of few schools to organize drives, said Jan Hale, the communications program manager for the American Red Cross.

“We don’t have many Pint-Size Hero blood drives,” Hale said. “We’d like to have more.”

She said Monday’s drive was special.

“With Jenny’s background, this drive was particularly meaningful,” she said. “Jenny is living proof that blood donation saves lives.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.