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Beamer's challenge draws blood: Leadership class helps save lives, one pint at a time

Anvy Crowley, 16, donates blood for the first time during Cascade Regional Blood Service’s Beamer Day on Dec. 20. To learn more or donate, call (253) 945-7974. - Jacinda Howard/The Mirror
Anvy Crowley, 16, donates blood for the first time during Cascade Regional Blood Service’s Beamer Day on Dec. 20. To learn more or donate, call (253) 945-7974.
— image credit: Jacinda Howard/The Mirror

Anvy Crowley, with her mother by her side, anxiously waited for a phlebotomist to slip a needle into her arm and begin drawing blood.

This is the first year Crowley, a 16-year-old Todd Beamer High School student, has been legally able to donate blood. She attended Cascade Regional Blood Service’s Beamer Day on Dec. 20. It’s a school tradition for students in the Beamer leadership class to hold two blood drives a year. This year, students Annalise Miller, 15, Kenna Hall, 15, Miranda McLaren, 17, and Courtney Bogart, 15, stepped forward to organize the events.

“We wanted to take on the challenge,” Miller said.

They held the latest drive during the holiday season because donations are low this time of year. Blood donated during the drive will help keep Cascade Regional’s blood supply operational through the holiday season. Every pint donated can help save three lives.

“It’s a big deal,” Hall said. “It’s important.”

Roughly 22 donors ponied up one pint of blood each on Dec. 20. Crowley was among the donors. She took the leadership class last year and wanted to donate blood then, but was unable to because she was too young. Crowley said her desire to donate was spawned when her leadership class took a field trip to Cascade Regional’s Tacoma location, where blood is drawn, processed and stored.

Dan Bogart, Courtney’s dad, also donated that Monday. Bogart said he gave blood about once a year when he was younger, but has not donated in about 20 years. His daughter’s involvement in organizing the blood drive brought him to Cascade Regional’s Federal Way location for Beamer Day. Bogart said he was happy to see his daughter involved in the event, especially during her winter vacation.

“I’m really proud of her and her friends for taking time out of their vacation,” Dan Bogart said.

This is the second blood drive the Todd Beamer teens have successfully pulled off this year.

Their first drive happened in mid-October and brought in more than 190 donors at the school.

The blood drives were a real challenge for the teens. They felt pressure to draw crowds equivalent to those seen in past years, Hall said. Being organized enough to coordinate the drive was another challenge. The girls, who said they organized the events without help from their peers or teacher, refer to themselves as “perfectionists.” They said the desire to have everything run perfectly and go as smoothly as possible was stressful.

“Our teacher just kind of threw it at us and said ‘good luck,’” Miller said.

But the girls pulled it all off. They learned how to successfully organize a large-scale event and gained personal skills along the way. And just as important, they lived up to Beamer expectations.

“I feel like we have a name for ourselves now,” Bogart said.

Learn more

Cascade Regional Blood Services welcomes more blood donations. To schedule an appointment, call (253) 945-7974.

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