Seymour student who battled leukemia donates blood for the first time


Upon entering the Seymour High School auxiliary gymnasium early Thursday morning, Trey Hohenstreiter was asked if he had ever donated blood before.

While his answer was “no,” that soon changed as he filled out paperwork and went through a short interview before he found himself in a chair donating for the first time.

Meeche Day with Indiana Blood Center inserted a needle in his right arm, and soon, Hohenstreiter’s blood began to fill a bag.

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About 15 minutes later, he was done. He got out of the reclining chair and went over to a table to get some cookies and a drink.

Ten minutes later, he could proudly say he was a blood donor.

“It’s a great thing to do because I’m giving back to what they gave me when I went through cancer,” he said. “It’s just a great process.”

The Seymour High School junior was 4 when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. During his three-year battle, he received 13 blood transfusions.

Even though he has been clear of leukemia for seven years, he still has to go to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis once a year for a checkup.

“I draw blood every time I go for a checkup at Riley, so it’s pretty much the same thing, just more blood coming out,” he said, comparing those visits to giving blood Thursday.

Fortunately, all of those checkups have gone well, and so did his first time giving blood. Thursday also was his 17th birthday.

While he said he doesn’t remember the blood transfusions, he will never forget his first time donating blood.

“It’s really important just to give back to the people that donated to you,” Hohenstreiter said.

As far as giving blood again, he said, “For sure. I’ll definitely do another one. I feel like it’s going to be the same process. It’s not going to be hard.”

His mother, Kathy Hohenstreiter, said she is proud of him for donating blood.

“Giving blood is such an amazing gift that most people can give, and it saves lives,” Kathy said. “Trey is alive today because 13 people donated their time and their blood to save a life. We always prayed for the person before the blood transfusion, as we wish we could thank them personally. I wish more people would donate blood.”

On the days of Trey’s blood transfusions, Kathy said it took about four to five hours.

“He had to be pretreated with Benadryl, as he would react to it,” she said. “He would sleep the entire time through it, but he always would tell me he wasn’t going to go to sleep.”

She said she and her husband, Dwayne, could tell Trey needed blood because he had very low energy and would ask to ride in the Riley wagon.

“But after the transfusion, he would be a new kid,” Kathy said. “His color was much better, and he would be running up and down the halls, never wanting back in the wagon.”

Kathy said she’s glad the blood drive was offered Thursday and Friday at the school so students had an opportunity to give back at an early age.

Senior Jasmine Robbins said it was great to see Trey donate for the first time.

“That right there is the definition of somebody who wants to save somebody else,” Robbins said.

Thursday marked her 17th time donating blood.

“I’ve always been into helping people,” she said. “The best way I can help people is by donating blood, and my blood is universal donor, so anybody can use it. I just like helping people, and to know that my blood can help others is really pleasing to me.”

She said it was good to see students take the time out of their day to donate.

“It only takes one pint to save a life, so if that one pint can save a little kid’s life at that, you’re saving a life,” she said.

Robbins has to wait two months until she can give blood again, and she said she already has it on her calendar.

Junior Owen Chandler also was inspired by Trey and chose to be a first-time donor.

“I saw a sign in the hallway, and at first glance, I’m like, ‘I want to give it a try,’” Chandler said.

He was glad to make it through the process just fine and hopes to do it again sometime.

“Just the act of feeling useful, helping other people, I love doing it,” Chandler said.

Senior Kyra Phillips also donated blood for the first time Thursday.

“I’ve just never done it. It always made me scared. I just want to get over being a chicken,” she said, smiling.

She, too, made it through just fine.

“I just want to help people out,” Phillips said. “I just want to stop thinking about myself and just do it.”

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For information about donating blood through Indiana Blood Center, visit


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