Zionsville resident’s birthday blood drive success leads to second event

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By Heather Lusk

A lack of blood drives in Zionsville prompted Susan Ottinger to make an unusual birthday request last year. Instead of gifts, she challenged friends and family to donate 50 pints of blood in honor of her 50th birthday.

Ottinger

She hoped for 20 pints. She got 63.

“It was so successful,” she said. “It worked.”

So Ottinger is again asking for blood donations June 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Salem United Methodist Church.

“It is flat-out one of the easiest things I can do for my community,” she said. “You never know who’s going to need it.”

Ottinger, a librarian at Eagle Elementary School, said it’s also an easy way to show children how to help others.

“I think it’s a good message to send my daughter,” she said.

Ottinger encourages donors to bring their children to see how simple it is to donate blood.

Candace Hons, who teaches alongside Ottinger, was one of the donors last year.

“Susan does a lot of for everybody else,” Hons said. “It was the least I could do for her.”

The Red Cross Bloodmobile will serve juice and cookies, and Ottinger plans to bake her own treats to thank those who donate.

After last year’s success, Ottinger wants to surpass 63 pints.

“Fifty-one would be a letdown after last time,” she said.

Appointments can be made at redcrossblood.org using the sponsor code salemumc. Blood can be donated up to six times per year. According to the Red Cross, it needs about 550 donors each day in Indiana to support patients at 80 hospitals within the state.

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