St. Edmond to host blood drive Tuesday

Appointments are required

For Mike Szalat, leading the charge for the annual St. Edmond Catholic School blood drive has many close and personal reasons.

The spring blood drive takes place from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday inside the St. Edmond High School gym. Those interested in giving blood are required to schedule an appointment.

Appointments can be made by contacting Szalat at szalat@st-edmond.pvt.k12.ia.us.

The St. Edmond student council, which Szalat serves as the moderator for, sponsors the drive. This is his 19th year leading it, with the council also holding one in the fall.

“Lance Lennon was the person I took it over for,” Szalat said. “To him, it was a big deal, and I just kind of felt the same way at first. We’re a Christian school and it saves between 1-to-3 lives, so it seemed logical to continue the tradition.”

That changed for Szalat, though, when both his mother and mother-in-law were diagnosed with cancer.

“Cancer patients receive more blood than anybody else,” he said. “That kind of made it personal.”

Donors must be at least 16 years old and weigh at least 120 pounds. With new restrictions added, the number of applicants has gone down over the year.

“We’re still pretty pleased with the number of students we get,” Szalat said. “And while it might not be the philosophy of the blood center, I look at it as if we get even one student to donate, that’s better than zero.”

The donations go to LifeServe Blood Center, who provides the blood to local hospitals to save neighbors, a friend, family members or just a complete stranger.

Over the past several years, St. Edmond has been hit hard by tragic losses. That includes the passings of both Claire Wallace and Alli Huss, who both had cancer.

“It really all hit close to home with the passing of Claire and Alli,” Szalat said. “When you lose two students to cancer, from that point of view, I don’t think you need a lot of motivation to donate.

“Another big influence was Ralph Schulte. He really thought the blood drive was a great example of a service opportunity and another way to serve others.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today