‘Pint size heroes’ make St. Mary School blood drive the tops in McLean County

As Kelly Gentsch, a fifth grade teacher at St. Mary School in Bloomington, prepares to give blood during a drive the school hosted on April 29, she answers questions from her children Maddie and Cole. The technician is Rayscha Hardwick. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

BLOOMINGTON — In just eight years, a blood drive hosted by St. Mary School has become the largest annual one-day donation event in McLean County.

“I can’t believe what it’s become,” said Susan Bassi, a physical education and health teacher, as she stood in the school gym where the American Red Cross had set up 14 beds for the 155 adults who would donate blood on April 29.

Susan Bassi and St. Mary students Samantha Beck and Brian Clover hold up fingers indicating the record 155 blood donors at this year's drive. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

Susan Bassi and St. Mary students Samantha Beck and Brian Clover hold up fingers indicating the record 155 blood donors at this year’s drive. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

The donors were recruited by St. Mary students as part of a “Pint Size Heroes” blood drive. But the students’ involvement doesn’t end in signing up family and friends — they also escort donors around the gym and serve snacks after the process is complete.

“These are grade school students making a difference in people’s lives,” said Bassi, who coordinates the drive for the school. She noted the number of donors has swelled from 35 the first year, to 126 a year ago, to this year’s 155.

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