Tremper High School Blood Drive remains a community staple in Kenosha

The state's largest student-run blood drive began in 1982

KENOSHA, Wis. — Emily Giese is a star high school athlete who took one for the team on Thursday.

The Tremper High School junior was one of approximately 140 students who helped organize the annual Tremper Blood Drive, the state’s largest student-run blood drive.

Giese not only helped plan the event and recruit donors, but she gave blood as well, which is not an easy task for someone who doesn’t necessarily do well with needles.

“I like helping people,” Giese said. “I know this is another way I can do that.”

The Tremper Blood Drive is run by the school’s student government. It’s generated over 26,000 donations (one pint per donation), which has helped save over 78,000 lives.

Organizers set a goal of 540 donations on Thursday. That would top 537 donations from last year.

Planning for next year’s event starts Friday.

Tremper special education teacher Kendra Richter, a 2013 Tremper graduate, is the event organizer. She took over for longtime event organizer Todd Hardy who retired last year.

“I’m a little biased but I think the Tremper students are pretty awesome,” Richter said. “I like the community gets to come and see them be leaders and really take time and effort to put on an event that serves people they won’t ever meet.”

Donors must be at least 16 years old and weigh 110 pounds or more. A parent-guardian permission slip is required for 16-year-olds. Students 17 and older do not need a consent form.

“I think it means a lot to make that decision on your own and to be able to think for yourself, especially going into adulthood,” Tremper senior Maritza Martinez said.

The Tremper Blood Drive set a national record for student-led blood drives with 777 donations in 2016.