They've tossed bags and spiked volleyballs, but today all the Pleasant Valley School District had to do was lay back and put out an arm to help one of their own and others in the community.
On Friday, November 9th, 2012, the PTA - with the help of the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center - held a blood drive in honor of Crystal Neuhaus. Crystal taught Kindergarten at Riverdale Heights Elementary School for more than 10 years. Last year, she was diagnosed with Leukemia and is now spending time at home with her family.
"We love Crystal at our school and just think the world of her," says Brett Chiles, a 2nd Grade Teacher at Riverdale, who donated blood for the first time today.
"She's a great teacher and has definitely given a lot to the school over the years," says Cory Satterfield, who also donated blood this afternoon.
One of the organizers of the blood drive, Lisa Nelson, describes Crystal as a "pillar" of the school and district.
"[She is] very giving to the children and very giving to the parents and we wanted to figure out a way of how we could emanate her back to the community."
In October, the community put together a bags tournament to raise money for Crystal's medical expenses. Earlier in the month, they also held a fundraiser during the Pleasant Valley vs. Clinton volleyball match, where everyone wore orange to show their support. But unlike those events, donations from today's blood drive did not go directly to Crystal. Instead, organizers say every unit of donated blood impacted three lives. With a total of 40 people donating, 120 lives were impacted by Crystal's cause today.
"She would do the same for us," says Chiles.
"The district is behind her," says Nelson. "The parents, the families, the children -- We're all behind [her] rooting for [her] 100%."
For those interested, monetary donations can be dropped off at Riverdale Heights Elementary School for Crystal.
Blood donations are also needed at this time of year. For more information on the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, click here.