Elaine Senn is meant to be in an elementary school where she can work with students. But lately, the Coosa Elementary School media assistant has been sorely missed, principal Carmen Dillard said.
Senn was diagnosed with leukemia in December and is undergoing chemotherapy. As part of her treatment, the mother of two will soon have a bone marrow transplant at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
To help with Senn's recovery, which will require several units of blood, the Beaufort County School District is working with the Blood Alliance to host several blood drives in her honor.
"She truly loves working with the kids and being part of the elementary schools, and she is so good at it," Dillard said. "Elaine is really looking forward to getting back as quick as she can, and we are hoping we can help with that."
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The first of six blood drives dedicated to Senn will start Tuesday at the district office in Beaufort, according to community services coordinator Megan Meyer. Other drives will be in April and May, at the northern Beaufort County high schools and Beaufort Memorial Hospital.
An account with the Blood Alliance has been created for Senn, who has been with the district for more than eight years.
Each time someone donates blood in Senn's name, her account will be credited, said Michele Barker, donor resource consultant with the Alliance at Beaufort Memorial. The balance then can be used to help pay for the blood Senn needs during her treatment, according to Barker.
The nonprofit alliance receives money from hospitals for blood it collects, and it uses the proceeds to help patients in need pay for blood.
"It really helps people when they know that this can help a specific person," Barker said. "When they can put a face with the need, I think that is much more inspirational and motivational than if it is just an anonymous donation out in the world."
Although the drives are dedicated to Senn, donors should still mention her name when they register, Barker said.
Senn is grateful for the community support, Dillard said. Her health at this time has made her unavailable.
"She is one of the most positive people you will meet and just the epitome of somebody who will lend you help if you ever need it," Dillard said. "So with that outlook, we wanted to turn around and do whatever we could for her."
Follow reporter Sarah Bowman at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.