PLYMOUTH — Giving blood is always a good idea. But for Plymouth High School students, teachers, and staff, the blood drive held Wednesday at the school was also a chance to support one of their own.
“The varsity club sponsors the fall blood drive each year,” said PHS teacher Laura Kruyer, who organized the drive. “This year, we decided to have it in honor of Hope (Banghart, a PHS sophomore recently diagnosed with leukemia).”
Donors signed a large banner that reads, “Get Well Soon, Hope! Your Family at PHS.”
Banghart is not able to attend school this year as she is going through treatments at Riley Hospital for Children. She is home now until Friday, when she will head back to Indianapolis for another round of treatments. She spent about four hours at PHS Wednesday greeting people participating in the blood drive. It was the first time she had been in the building since her diagnosis earlier this summer.
“It’s really cool especially since I got to go to the school while people were there…I saw my friends in the hallway and was able to give them a hug,” said Banghart. “I saw the ‘support behind the support.’”
“(Hope) was going to sing with me in Crimson Connection (PHS’s show choir) this year,” said junior Amanda Wolford as she gave blood.
Wolford added that she enjoyed seeing Banghart at the school earlier that day.
“She’s doing good,” said Wolford.
Another donor, senior Denis Watson said he gives blood each year.
“It’s something I can do to help, and get out of class too,” said Watson.
“I’m actually feeling pretty well,” said Banghart Wednesday afternoon. “Since I’ve been home I’ve felt a lot better than when I was in the hospital. It’s not really how you feel, it’s the fact that you know you have to stay home and can’t go places. It kinda gets you down a little but a lot of people come to visit me. That way I’m not so alone.”
Banghart will spend a month at Riley beginning Friday, before she is allowed to come home for another week.
“Hope for Hope” T-shirts and bracelets are being sold at PHS. All proceeds will go to help the Banghart family with medical expenses.
Hope’s mother, Debbie Banghart, posts regular updates on Hope’s status to the Facebook group page, “Hope for Hope.”
The online group has nearly 1,500 members.