Ethan's Story

Volunteerism seems to run in Ethan’s blood so it is rather fitting the Schaumburg teen would choose to freely give his services to a blood center.

Having previously offered his time and talents to Feed My Starving Children and Special Olympics Illinois, Ethan has since January spent his Saturday mornings and occasionally afternoons volunteering at Vitalant’s Schaumburg community donation  center. In his role as a donor appreciation representative, Ethan greets and welcomes donors and also assists in the refreshment area.

A senior at Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, Ethan became involved with Vitalant via his high school’s Learning through Community Action Program. The program, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary at Conant, was formed to provide senior students an opportunity to complete public service directly in their own communities. Students have the option to either complete a 10-page research paper on a local issue or apply for volunteer work at one of more than a dozen companies.

Ethan described volunteering with Vitalant as a “perfect fit” for him, and said he often finds himself staying beyond his required two-hour shift.

“I want to be in the medical field and volunteering at LifeSource exposes me to people dealing with blood either by donating it or drawing it,” Ethan said. “I’m able to acquire real-life experience. I’m really enjoying it.”

In addition to welcoming guests and making certain the refreshment area is stocked, Ethan said he often organizes the supplies, including the bandages given to donors following their donation.

“I’ll do anything to help out so I’m happy to do any odd job,” he said. “I just enjoy helping people and trying to make a difference.”

He also enjoys working with the staff at the Schaumburg community donor center and meeting the donors, some of whom he has gotten to know well.

“The staff there is an excellent group,” he said. “The donors, well, they are really heroes. To take time out of your day to give blood and help others is really commendable.”

With more than two months of volunteer work with LifeSource under his belt, Ethan is well aware of the need for blood donors and the constant demand for blood products. When LifeSource came to Conant for a blood drive in March, Ethan took on a recruiter role encouraging his friends to make a blood donation.

“I do talk about the importance of giving blood to my friends,” he said. “It’s a conversation I’m happy to have because I know the impact of donating blood.”