CEDARVILLE, Ohio — A nursing student from Cranberry Township has already affected hundreds of lives even though she won't graduate until May.
Cylie Aronsohn, a senior nursing major at Cedarville University in Ohio and a 2017 graduate of Seneca Valley High School, has been organizing blood drives at her university
Aronsohn is the Red Cross Blood Drive coordinator for Cedarville's Student Nurses Association.
She won a Red Cross Scholarship her junior year, which requires her to put on four blood drives for the Red Cross at her university, one for each semester of her remaining two years of undergraduate study.
Also as a result of winning this scholarship, Aronsohn, the daughter of Jeff and Valerie Aronsohn, spent two weeks in Washington, D.C., the location of the Red Cross headquarters, all expenses paid.
“I did it in the summer of 2018. I met a lot of Red Cross leaders,” she said.
The scholarship pays her $500 a semester.
Aronsohn said, “The requirements for the scholarship were you had to have two years left in school, and you had to be a student athlete. I'm on the women's tennis team.
“You had to apply and go through an interview process,” she said.
She stages the blood drives through the auspices of the student nursing association. The next drive is scheduled for April 7 in the university's Stevens Student Center.
This will be Aronsohn's final blood drive at Cedarville.
“The blood drives are a lot more successful than I thought they would be,” Aronsohn said. “I always get nervous, but we always raise over 100 percent of our goal.”
Her first blood drive took place Nov. 1, 2018, with the goal of raising 35 units. She collected 46. The second and third blood drives had similar results, with far more blood collected than the target goal. One unit of blood can save up to three patient lives.
“We've exceeded our goal 150 percent in the past,” Aronsohn said, adding she doesn't think that will change in her last blood drive.
“I have donated blood myself, but when I am in charge of the drives making sure they run smoothly, the drives get so busy I don't get a chance to donate on the day of the drive,” she said.
Cedarville University is a small, private Christian school with a student body of 4,000 students, she said.
“It's really neat to see their faith and their love for the Lord impact the way they come out to donate blood,” she said. “In a small Christian way, they are willing to donate for a greater good.”
She added that each donation has the potential to affect many people.
“I think as a nurse I am able to see not only collecting the blood, but how it really does impact lives,” she said.
“It really does save lives. I'm a Christian. I have a purpose outside myself, to serve the Lord,” she added.
“You can't always see what is going on, but now there is a purpose outside yourself. There is value in donating blood,” she said.
Blood collected by Aronsohn could find its way across the country because of an ongoing nationwide blood shortage.
“During the winter months, snow storms, icy road conditions and seasonal illness like the flu often cause blood donors to delay their donations,” said Chris Hrouda, president, Red Cross Blood Services.
“We are working every day to restock hospitals shelves with lifesaving blood products for patients and right now, we need all healthy, eligible individuals to give blood and platelets as soon as possible to ensure we can meet patient needs,” said Hrouda.
Coordinating the blood drives allowed Aronsohn to build her leadership skills and improve skills for community nursing.
“Since one of our clinical rotations is community health nursing, I've been able to count some of my hours for that clinical,” Aronsohn said. “Working as a nurse you see the blood in the hospital, but to see the process of how it gets there is fun.”
Aronsohn plans to go to work as an emergency room nurse after graduation.
“I love the emergency room in general. I do think as a nurse I've gained a lot of value learning to be a good leader through these blood drives,” she said.
Emily Greenhouse, a sophomore nursing student from Danville, Calif., helped Aronsohn run the blood drive and is also applying for the Red Cross Scholarship with the hope of taking over as coordinator for Cedarville's blood drives.