Clinton Township blood drive to return Feb. 6-7

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 30, 2018

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Not all heroes wear capes.

That’s the message Clinton Township Treasurer Paul Gieleghem and sponsors of the 19th annual Clinton Township Community Blood Drive want possible blood donors to know.

This year’s drive takes place Feb. 6 and 7. The Feb. 6 schedule is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at Clintondale High School, 35200 Little Mack Ave.; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch, 40900 Romeo Plank Road; and 1-8 p.m. at Chippewa Valley High School, 18300 19 Mile Road.

The Feb. 7 schedule is 8 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Clinton Township Senior Center, 40730 Romeo Plank Road, and 12:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library South Branch, 35679 South Gratiot Ave.

Gieleghem, who coordinates the event, said this year’s theme of “Be a Super Hero: Give Blood” is indicative of the superhero culture we are living in nowadays. 

The renewed interest has touched the souls of people of all ages around the world, he said, and it was a good way to attack a growing problem not only locally, but nationally: getting people to take time out of their schedules and give blood.

“It’s not just the heroic things that (superheroes) do,” Gieleghem said. “They all have this alter ego persona of an average person. We chose this theme because average people out there can do heroic things by stepping up and participating in a community effort like this.”

It’s annually one of the largest blood drives in Michigan.

The partnerships run local and deep, he noted, with the senior center, library and school districts lending a helping hand. He said it also gives younger people the opportunity to see how they can impact a person’s life.

“While we can make an artificial heart and an artificial knee and hip, and other vital organs, one of the things we cannot do in a laboratory is make blood,” he said. “Only people can do that.”

Blood is needed for those with debilitating diseases and health issues, or those involved in serious accidents and clinging to life. Availability is integral.

“The fact is, we never know when something will happen, and blood is essential in all of those cases,” he said.

Nobody knows that better than Romeo resident Jackie Sherrill. A hairdresser by trade, she worked regularly at the Clinton Township Senior Center.

That changed Oct. 23, 2017. She was leaving a lunch outing with a girlfriend when she suddenly had a brain aneurysm. Two seizures occurred during the episode.

“I just happened to be giving her a hug and it happened right at that point,” Sherrill said, worrying about what may have happened if she was in her vehicle.

She was rushed to a hospital, where a CT scan found a rupture. She was transported to another hospital, where she spent 21 days — including 18 days in critical care — and doctors performed brain surgery.

“I was out for really all of it,” she said. “I remember just a short time in the ambulance and I was out. About a week later I came out of everything.”

Doctors told her that aneurysms are often more common in people who smoke, but she hasn’t smoked cigarettes in her entire life. She was a healthy individual who received a wakeup call, with no symptoms of headaches or anything else.

She wants to give blood in the future, and if she can’t, she hopes her family will participate.

“I always felt like I would have a warning of something like this, but you don’t,” she said. “That’s the one major thing I’ve come away with. And if you can do anything to help, you should do it, because you never know when it will be you.”

To schedule an appointment, call (586) 286-1768. For more information or to sign up online, visit www.redcrossblood.org and enter the sponsor code “clintontownship.”

Major sponsors include Flagstar Bank, Huntington Bank, McLaren Macomb Hospital and Henry Ford Health System, among others.