By David Fong
TROY — For as long as she can remember, Pam Klatte has donated blood.
“I’ve always been a big believer in donating blood,” the Troy High School administrative assistant said. “I view it as ‘paying forward.’ You never know who it is going to help.”
When Klatte and her husband Joe were in a devastating automobile accident in Georgia on April 5, 2014, it was the generosity of others who donated blood that saved her life.
“Donating blood helps people,” Klatte said. “It keeps people alive. I should know — I’m one of them. When we were in the accident, I broke my femur and ended up losing a lot of blood. In 21 days, I had 11 surgeries — now I didn’t get blood during all of the surgeries, but I did for a lot of them.”
Klatte would end up losing the bottom part of her right leg following the accident — but is grateful to be alive. Because of her experience, she’s encouraging everyone to participate in the annual “Troy-Piqua Blood Drive Challenge,” in which the two rival communities will compete to see which can donate the most blood.
Students and staff members at both schools already have donated blood. The two communities will have the opportunity to donate blood this week in the final push toward victory. Those wishing to donate blood can do so from noon to 6 p.m. Monday at the U.S. Bank in Piqua (200 N. College St.) and from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the U.S. Bank in Troy (910 W. Main St.)
The blood drive is being sponsored by the U.S. Bank branches in both cities and the Community Blood Center. Donors can donate at either location — but still have their donation count toward either city’s total.
“You get a card at the end that let’s you vote,” Troy High School Principal Bill Overla said. “If you live in Troy and want to go donate in Piqua and have it count toward Troy’s total, you can do that.”
Like Klatte, donating blood is a cause near and dear to Overla’s heart. Seven years ago, when his daughter Lauren was just months old, she had to have open heart surgery and needed blood infusions.
“I’m definitely a competitive person and I want Troy to win the blood drive — but let’s face it, everyone is a winner when people donate blood,” said Overla, who said he has been donating blood since he was a student at Northmont High School in the 1980s. “I think there are a lot of things in your life that you don’t realize how important it is until it has a direct impact on your life. Even in people don’t want to donate or are unable to donate, this blood drive raises awareness of a good cause.”
Klatte — whose sons J.C. and Kevin “Kenny” Klatte — both played football at Troy in the 1990s, said making the blood drive a part of the annual football rivalry makes even better for everyone who donates.
“I think it’s fun,” she said. “This adds a new twist to the rivalry. I would encourage everyone to donate blood.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong