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Local blood drive coordinator proof that angels do exist


January 13, 2010
Angels do exist — they're the people who make a difference, the people who brighten the days of others, the people who give of themselves to make the world a little better place.

Kathryn Strunk is one such angel.

Strunk, who lives in Taswell, has been coordinating the American Red Cross blood drives at Lincoln Hills United Methodist Church at English for about a decade. The church has been a host site since 1991.

It's a lot of work to coordinate the blood drives. The week before the blood drive, Strunk gets on the phone to call the more than 100 names on her list. Some are out of the area, and she pays the long-distance expenses herself. Prior to Strunk doing so, Eva Mae Greiner made the calls.

Strunk continues the calls up to, and on, the day of the blood drive. Her perseverance usually pays off, as between 40 and 80 people show up to donate blood, including many who are long-time donors. Most are locals, and all, as required, are at least 17 years old (16-year-olds may donate if they have written parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and haven't donated in the past 56 days.

The calling is only part of the work. On the day of the drive, Strunk and the LHUMC women's group prepare sandwiches to go along with a slew of snacks — including pretzels, sodas and orange juice — from the Red Cross to help those who give blood regain their strength.

"We've had a few (people pass out), but not too many," Strunk said.

LHUMC, which usually welcomes the bloodmobile two or three times a year, was just scheduled to host a blood drive this past Saturday. If past years are an indication, the next one likely will be in June.

Yes, it's a lot of work for Strunk each time the church has a blood drive, but she says it's more than worth it. One pint of blood can save the lives of up to three people, according to the Red Cross. Unfortunately, only 3 percent of Americans are donors, making the efforts of Strunk and those like her extremely valuable.

Angels, indeed, do exist.

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