As a Redwood Valley High School student and member of the high-school student council, Keelie VanHee of Redwood Falls has had the opportunity to help coordinate the blood drive events which the student council has sponsored.

While volunteering her time at one of those blood drives, a representative of the American Red Cross approached VanHee with an idea.

“They asked me if I would be interested in putting on a blood drive on my own,” said VanHee, who is a junior this year at RVHS.

As part of the Red Cross Leaders Save Lives program, VanHee was called on to coordinate a blood drive, which was held Aug. 8 at the Redwood Area Community Center in Redwood Falls.

VanHee said she started work for the blood drive at the end of the last school year, adding she was in charge of doing everything from finding the venue and marketing the event to recruiting volunteers.

VanHee said sign-up started a bit slow, but when she started hanging up posters the interest started to grow. She also spread the word through social media.

The goal for the Aug. 8 blood drive was 25 units, and VanHee said at the end of the blood drive there were 28 units that had been donated.

Exceeding her goal was something VanHee said felt very satisfying simply because she knows each of those blood donations is going to be used to save a life.

Not only did VanHee coordinate the event, she also donated for the first time Aug. 8.

“I know each unit that is donated is helping out someone,” said VanHee, adding she fully intends to continue making donations in the future.

In addition, VanHee also said she is thinking about coordinating another blood drive in the future - perhaps as early as this coming December.

She also will be involved in helping to coordinate the blood drive events sponsored through the high school this year.

“It feels good to know this is one way I can help other people,” said VanHee, adding she is currently considering a career in the medical field.

To learn more about upcoming blood drives and ways to help the American Red Cross and its Bloodmobile program, visit redcrossblood.org.

– Submitted photo