Blood drive spotlights a local middle schooler
By Annelise Paczesny, Current Staff
When the West Bend High Schools student council was considering the theme for its blood drive this year, a young district student with leukemia sparked their interest.
Kiptyn Kainz, a 12-year-old student at Badger Middle School, is the face of the WBHS blood drive this year in hopes of encouraging local participation from high school students. This year’s theme is “You’re Somebody’s Type… Swipe Right for the Fight!” The drive will take place Dec. 7 in the high schools’ south gym.
Skip Clark, an East High School science teacher, has ties to the Kainz family. Both Craig and Denise Kainz teach at McLane Elementary, which led to Clark proposing that the Kainz family open up about their experience with childhood cancer for the 2022 blood drive.
“Being a teacher in the school district, I’m close with the Kainz family,” Clark said. “McLane has been very supportive of the Kainz family since they have to take time off to support Kiptyn. Kiptyn is someone people are able to recognize and connect with, especially the youth.”
As STUCO adviser, Clark typically delegates the majority of the tasks surrounding the blood drive to students.
“I love students learning how to organize a big event such as a blood drive or charity week, they’re things that require a lot of preparation,” Clark said. “There’s five different committees, and each committee has a chair. Each chair has the responsibility of organizing their group and meeting outside of the normal student council meeting dates so they can coordinate what needs to be done.”
Autumn Myers, an East junior, has been actively working on the council’s promotions committee.
“Promotions has been going on the radio, telling the school about everything going on about the blood drive, and getting the word out so that it can be successful,” Myers said. “Our blood drive alone supplies only one half of a day’s supply at the local hospitals, so one pint of blood will cater into saving others lives.”
The blood drive’s theme has been in the works for six months. McKennah Orth, an East sophomore and STUCO vice-president, helped decide the theme for the drive.
“Student council voted on a theme last April,” Orth said. “We thought that incorporating Kiptyn into our theme would not only help reach our goal of 500+ pints of blood to help people in our community, but also show that it can go towards someone we know personally. One donation can help save lives around our community and Kiptyn was one example of that.”
Denise Kainz, Kiptyn’s mother, has been helping her son through his chemotherapy.
“The biggest change with leukemia entering our lives was the reminder to not take health for granted,” Kainz said. “While Kiptyn has been successful in ‘handling’ his treatments, the journey is not always an easy one. We have learned that if he has down days, positivity and prayer gets us through them and we believe better days lie ahead.”
Kainz notes that blood donations have been really important for her family, as they help Kiptyn get through his chemotherapy.
“Blood donations have been HUGE,” she said. “When we see the signs, we call Children’s Hospital, who has been wonderful through all of this, and they get him in asap. And, once he is hooked up, it is amazing just to watch him perk back up to his ‘normal’ self again.”
A common theme throughout the development of the blood drive is the importance of blood donations for local community members.
“People sometimes don’t think about it, they think that blood drives take blood for major catastrophes, but the truth is they go to normal ordinary people every single day and without it, those people wouldn’t be able to live,” Clark said.
Clark says that the blood donations may even help someone who is sitting right next to you or is otherwise in the high school building.
“We are truly honored to be this year’s ‘featured family’ for the WBSD 2022 blood drive,” Kainz said. “As I always say, strength in numbers. And I truly mean it. We could not travel this journey alone. We thank everyone one thousand times over. Together we can ‘Crush Cancer with Kiptyn.’”
Sign-ups for the blood drive are open until Thursday. Students can find information in their school emails. Adults and community members are also invited to schedule appointments.
(Top: A short video about the Kainz family’s story that was shown to students during their Nov. 18 resource period at the West Bend High Schools. The middle image is by East junior Em Louk. The image below is by East senior Favee Xiong. All videos and images are official STUCO promotional material.)