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In Lee’s Summit’s ‘Battle for Blood,’ everyone is a winner

Lindley Hassler shared a laugh with Community Blood Bank donor care technician Warren Hickman during Monday’s “Battle for Blood” at Lee’s Summit City Hall.
Lindley Hassler shared a laugh with Community Blood Bank donor care technician Warren Hickman during Monday’s “Battle for Blood” at Lee’s Summit City Hall. Special to the Journal

The 2018 “Battle for Blood” results are in and the winner is … the Lee’s Summit Police Department.

For the second year in a row, the city’s police department has seized first place in this fun yet important event to collect blood donations and raise awareness about the critical need for these donations.

On Monday, members of the community joined those from Lee’s Summit’s public safety agencies at City Hall, and together they donated 56 units of blood to the Community Blood Center. During the friendly competition between the police and fire departments, donors also had a chance to vote for their favorite agency.

Many donors shared an understanding about the significance of this life-saving gift.

“My daughter is a nurse at Children’s Mercy Hospital and I know the need,” said donor Lindley Hassler. “I also choose to donate to the Community Blood Bank. Their donations stay local, and that’s important to me. This is a way to give back and to save lives.”

Aleshia Carter, a Community Blood Center employee, knows the impact donations can have.

“A blood donation saved my life during childbirth, so I understand firsthand that blood saves lives,” said Carter, receptionist for Monday’s event.

Representing team Police Department was detective Aaron Ide. For the past several years, Ide has donated blood at least five times a year.

“I like giving back,” Ide said. “People need it, and I try to help.”

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Community Blood Center technician Geraldine London prepares Lee’s Summit detective Aaron Ide to donate blood during Monday’s “Battle for Blood.” Ide donates at least five times a year. Anne Marie Hunter Special to the Journal

On the other side of public safety, battalion chief Joe Dir stepped up for team Fire Department.

“Donating blood is a way to save a life. The cost is nothing but the value is priceless. A little bit of blood makes that big of a difference,” said Dir, who has also been a regular donor for many years.

In some instances, the Community Blood Center tracks donations and sends email notifications to donors when their blood has helped a recipient. Not long ago, Dir received one of those messages that was particularly unforgettable.

“I got an email notification that my blood saved a little girl’s life,” he said.

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Warren Hickman completed a donation procedure Monday. “Summer is an especially low point for blood donations, and we need more awareness like this event,” he said. Anne Marie Hunter Special to the Journal

Since 2002, Lee’s Summit’s community blood donations have impacted 3,800 lives. The Community Blood Center’s blood supply is used to meet local needs, including in Lee’s Summit, and the 56 units collected at the event will be a gift of life for as many as 150 people.

The police department was gracious in its “Battle for Blood” victory.

“The police department wants to thank everyone who came out to support us,” said Sgt. Chris Depue, police department spokesman. “As first responders, we are fortunate to work in a community that not only supports their police officers and firefighters, but also supports great causes like the Community Blood Center.”

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