By Kristin Alexander
Supporting Red Cross blood donation services is in Kendra Young’s blood.
The Issaquah High School student recently organized a blood drive at her school. Twenty-three pints of blood were collected.
More than 70 years earlier, her grandfather Raymond Henry Salyer helped set up a Red Cross blood bank in Omaha, Neb.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t ever really get the chance to know him,” Kendra said about her grandfather. But he was still an inspiration.
“I was definitely more eager to get involved because of that family history,” she said.
It was Kendra’s mother who gave her the idea to host the blood drive. Kendra liked it because she enjoys planning events and volunteering. Over the years, she’s participated in various charity events through her church including food, clothing and school supply drives and handing out Thanksgiving meals for families and individuals in need.
Planning the blood drive was fun, Kendra said. When the day came, she volunteered to check people in. Many of the donors were people she invited from school, church and work. Some were strangers who saw the flyers she had posted in the area. The payoff was seeing how great people felt after donating.
As thanks for her effort, the Red Cross gave Kendra and her friends a special role at a Reign FC game. The women’s soccer team recently announced their commitment to collecting blood, through a partnership with the Red Cross Missing Types Campaign.
Kendra and her peers were escorted onto the field at halftime and invited to test their luck by attempting to kick a goal (they call it a chip-shot) from the midline.
“We were kicking in the right direction, but we could not kick that far,” said Kendra, who competes on her school’s swim team.
By hosting a blood drive, students can become eligible for a Red Cross scholarship. Kendra will be a senior this fall and said she might organize another blood drive toward the end of the school year.
“Kendra’s passion and commitment to help others is an inspiration. The Red Cross future is very bright because of young people like Kendra,” said Red Cross Regional Philanthropy Officer Ken Mundt.