THEY DID IT FOR RITA
Over the course of this winter, many blood drives across the region have been canceled, or have had low turnouts due to the weather.
The weather didn’t stop people from coming out in full force to donate blood in honor of the late Rita Buehler. In fact, hundreds of people came out to donate blood and to visit with people who knew Rita most.
“That Minnesota weather didn’t stop the Rita diehards- they came out in full force! That tells you something about her character and what her friends, family and community thought about her,” said Beth Postier, a friend of Rita and one of those who helped put on the event.
During the blood drive, there was more than just people saving lives happening as family, friends, and community members came out to celebrate the life of Rita.
Some of the ways people celebrated was through sharing memories of Rita, sharing a birthday cake in honor of her birthday the following week, and through showing support for one and other.
Kirby Loahr, a Red Cross account manager, said that the event was very impressive.
“It was really an awesome event on Friday. It was very apparent the impact that Rita had on the community throughout the years because so many former students, families and friends came out to give blood in her memory – we even had 45 first-time blood donors,” Loahr said. “A big shout out to Anissa Williams who helped organize this event. She was so passionate about the blood drive and remembering her friend in this special way,” he added.
“With over half of the donors last week being first time donors, Rita’s friends and organizers said that it shows how much of an impact Rita had on everyone that she came in contact with,” Loahr said.
For Rita’s friends that helped organize the blood drive, they were very pleased with the turnout.
“So many of the donors (more than half) were first time donors. That is a real testament to Rita because this will start a new wave of donors. We know that getting new donors is important to continuing the legacy of the Red Cross,” Postier said.
For Rita’s son, Luke, he is very grateful for the amount of support from the local community.
"I'm grateful for the overwhelming amount of support from this community. They made a significant impact on my family and friends who helped organize the drive and make it such a grand success,” Buehler said.
Buehler explained that his mom would have been very humbled to see so many people donate blood in honor of her.
“My mom would have been so proud, but humbled, by all of the people who made it happen in her honor,” he said. “I would love to be a part of helping organize it next year again if it were to become an annual event. My mom left a lasting impression on many families in this community who will still remember her and will for many years to come.”
Over the course of her lifetime, Rita donated over 100 pints of blood and was always very passionate about donating blood to help save others.
In total, 90 units of blood were collected during the drive, which means up to 270 lives can be saved in honor of Rita.
“Rita would have been so proud of every person who came to her blood drive,” Postier said.