Maltby resident Margaret Seaney is heading into 2017 with her eyes on the prize, as the 14-year-old works to coordinate a blood drive in hopes of earning her Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest honor achievable for a Girl Scout at her level.

An eighth-grade student at Hidden River Middle School, Seaney teamed up with Bloodworks Northwest for the drive, which takes place 1-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, at Hidden River Middle School.

Bloodworks Northwest is a Seattle-based nonprofit community blood bank that serves nearly 90 hospitals in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Donors must weigh 110 pounds or more and be at least 18 years of age, although 16- and 17-year-olds can donate if they fill out a Bloodworks Northwest permission slip and have it signed by a parent or guardian. 

Anybody can participate in the drive. Drop-ins are welcome, but Seaney is encouraging donors to schedule an appointment ahead of time. 

Seaney is a Cadette-level Girl Scout, a level that includes girls in grades six through eight. The Silver Award is the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can achieve. A Silver Award candidate must use her community-service based project to demonstrate strong leadership, determination and organizational skills while showing dedication to community improvement. Projects can be accomplished in a group or individually, and require a minimum of 50 hours for planning, development and execution.

Seaney’s interest in blood drives was sparked after the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last summer, in which 49 people were killed and another 53 were wounded. As she watched the aftermath on the news, she was struck by the large number of people standing in line to donate blood.

The idea to organize a blood drive herself came from a friend, but Seaney took it and made it her own. To get started, she reached out to a member of her church who is employed at Bloodworks.  

“I chose a blood drive as my project because it is an important, easy way to help those in need. Blood is important for patients going through conditions such as surgery, trauma injuries and burns, cancer treatment, and organ transplants,” Seaney wrote in an email. “With our growing community, a blood drive would be a way for many people to contribute and save lives.”

Every single blood donation can save three lives, she added.

She said she hopes to have at least 30 people come and donate blood during the event.

“And then nine of them have to be new donors, so it’ll be their first time donating,” Seaney said.

By encouraging new donors, Seaney hopes to have a long-lasting positive impact by increasing the number of people willing to donate blood. Donating blood may seem scary at first, she said, but it’s a safe and easy way to help save lives.

Seaney is in her final year at Hidden River, and looks forward to attending Monroe High School next year. To help build long-term sustainability, which is a required aspect of the Silver Award project, she will be exploring ways for the blood drive to be coordinated in future years by other Hidden River Middle School students.

Accomplishing her Sliver Award will be an asset, when and if she decides to pursue her Gold Award. Girl Scout Seniors, which includes girls in grades nine and 10, can work toward their Gold Award, which is the highest achievement available in Girl Scouting. Girl Scout Gold Award recipients can enter the military one rank higher and earn college scholarships along with other benefits.

The Gold Award is essentially the Girl Scout equivalent of the Boy Scout Eagle Award, said Seaney’s mom, Deborah Seaney. Deborah has served as the leader of her daughter’s Troop 43038 since Margaret was in the first grade. 

For questions about the blood drive or to sign up for a specific time slot, contact Seaney at maltbyblooddrive@gmail.com.

Hidden River Middle School is located at 9224 Paradise Lake Road in Snohomish. Certain health conditions or medications can impact a person’s ability to donate blood. For questions regarding eligibility, email clinicalprogram@bloodworksnw.org