Scout's effort nets over-goal blood drive
By Becky Barclay
Published in News on January 3, 2006 1:50 PM
Tyler Santifort wanted to help as many people as he could with his Eagle Scout project, so he chose to host a blood drive.
The 16-year-old helped plan a blood drive at St. Luke Church Friday for the Wayne County chapter of the American Red Cross. "I wanted to make a difference with everybody," he said. "And I think I can make a difference this way because one pint of blood can help three people.
"My job was to recruit people to get them to come, give them incentives and explain to them that blood is low around this time of year. I passed out fliers. I asked teachers at school. I asked people at their work."
Tyler Santifort, right, talks with blood donor Harry Null, center, while Adam Daily, left, a Red Cross employee, draws blood from Null. The blood drive at St. Luke Church last week was Santifort's Eagle Scout project.
Santifort said he learned a lot about the Red Cross' blood program from the research he did for his Eagle Scout project.
He is a member of Boy Scout Troop 11 and attends Charles B. Aycock High School.
The Red Cross' blood services director, Samia Garner, praised Santifort for his project. "We're real proud of Tyler for choosing it as his Eagle Scout project. What a difference he'll make in the community."
Mrs. Garner said Santifort's initial goal was set at 20 units of blood. "But we realized a few days before the blood drive that he was going to surpass that," she said. "We were able to get some extra staff and supplies to accommodate more donors." The drive netted 21 units of blood.
The project came about after the Red Cross contacted Santifort's Scout troop. There was already an existing blood drive at St. Luke Church, but it had not been doing well, Mrs. Garner said.
"We went to the Scout leader and asked if his Scouts would be interested in hosting the drive," she said. "He got back with us and said not only would they be interested in hosting the drive, but one of the boys wanted to do it as his Eagle Scout project."
Mrs. Garner said there are a lot of projects Santifort could have chosen. "But to take a project like this, it takes a lot of preplanning. He just hit a home run and did everything so perfectly.
"He brought in a lot of folks that we hadn't seen as donors before who will hopefully be back at another blood drive."
And the timing of the blood drive was perfect, Mrs. Garner said. Around the holidays, blood supplies are always at emergency levels because people are vacationing and not thinking about donating blood. And with more people traveling on the roads and more accidents, that increases the need for blood.
"We are coming out of a month where we've just had to fight for every unit of blood we got," Mrs. Garner said. "Most all of our drives were off. What a wonderful way to have ended the month -- with a drive that was over goal.
"Now we're going into January and February and the weather can be so iffy. It's a tough collection time."
Mrs. Garner encourages other youths with groups such as Scouts and 4-H to take on a blood drive as a project. She said they can do parts of one or the entire drive.
"It's a leadership thing," she said. "It's an excellent way for a young person to get involved in the community."
Santifort said once he turns 17, he is going to give blood as often as he can because he realizes how many lives it touches.
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