MORRISON – Morrison High School senior Emma Melton received a Gallon Grad award from the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center for donating blood at least 8 times (approximately 1 gallon) before graduating.
Students are eligible to begin donating blood at age 16, with a signed parental permission form, provided by the Blood Center. Most begin donating at a blood drive hosted by their high school.
“These students have done something really special,” said Sharee Hoegerl, donor relations consultant for MVRBC. “As dedicated blood donors, they provide a resource that helps save lives at hospitals throughout our region.”
Gallon Grad award recipients receive an award certificate and a Red Cord that signifies the connection between the blood donor, the Blood Center, and patients who have been helped by the student’s donations. With permission from their school, students may choose to wear the Red Cord in their high school graduation ceremony.
Key Club advisor Kris Bielema said of Melton, “She has been a Key Club member all 4 years. ... It is the MHS Key Club that hosts the annual student blood drives. We have hosted blood drives for 19 years; the Mississippi Valley Blood Center has been our provider since 2009. Emma has not only donated at those drives, she has also assisted at them. Last year, both Krysta Mapes and Ryan Tillman were Gallon Grads and Key Clubbers.”
MVRBC is the provider of blood and blood components to Genesis Health System, Morrison County Hospital, and UnityPoint Health-Quad Cities. Blood donation is a safe, simple procedure that takes about 1 hour. Donors must be at least 16, in good health, and weigh at least 110 pounds. An MVRBC Donor ID card or photo identification is required to donate; 16-year olds must present a signed parental permission form, available from the Blood Center or online at www.bloodcenter.org.