NORTH WILDWOOD - They are 52 years apart in age, but Mae Cecilia Bischoff, 16, and Victor Kravitski, 68, came closer in their goals recently when they jointly contributed to the history of blood donations and to the recruitment of other donors for the American Red Cross in Cape May County.
The earliest age one may donate blood to the Red Cross is 16, and Bischoff wasted no time when she reached the magic number March 10.
Her mother, father, older sister and three brothers all had donated, and Bischoff certainly didn’t want to be left out of the pack. What is it they say that blood is thicker than water?
So just a few days after her momentous birthday party Bischoff, who is known best among friends and relatives by the nickname, “Macey,” walked up to the blood-taking people at Wildwood Catholic High School and said in effect, “Well, here I am. Let’s make history.”
Indeed she did as she was among few 16-year-olds to carry out that public service mission.
“Oh, it was so easy,” Bischoff recalled. “The whole procedure took about 30 minutes, 15 of them in preparation and the rest in the actual work. I hardly knew it was happening and I kept thinking how my blood would help someone not as fortunate as I.”
But that was not enough for the high honors student. She wanted to do more, so she sponsored a blood drive at the Early Education Center in North Wildwood, another history-making event for one so young.
First, though, was to come the Miss North Wildwood Scholarship Pageant, a competition not affiliated with the Miss America event.
As with other successes in her life, Bischoff became its 20th winner in its two-decade history. Now she had a platform upon which to boost the need for blood donations.
Three weeks later, Aug. 3, after winning the crown, Bischoff, a Middle Township resident, sponsored, helped to stage and gave her second donation at the blood drive at the Early Education Center.
Enter the story Victor Kravitski who was to be one of 31 donors. Kravitski, owner of Algie’s Bicycle Shop in Wildwood Crest since 1979, was on the verge of making history in Cape May County if not there already when he made his 87th donation, it all starting about 33 years or so ago.
“There was no generation gap here,” said Kravitski. “Our differences in age showed that anyone in proper health can donate for this important cause. We came together, and we encourage others to do so also.”
For Bischoff blood donations were to be an all in the family project. Her mother, Linda, a Wildwood Catholic High School nurse, donated her 16th pint at her daughter’s event.
A brother, Richard, 31, also was a donor. Unable to participate because of other commitments were her father, Richard, a construction manager, two other brothers, Zachary, 30, and Luke, 28, and a sister, Victoria, 24. All, however, have made donations at other times and elsewhere.
Neither Bischoff nor Kravitski is resting on their laurels. The girl hopes to sponsor another blood drive at Wildwood Catholic High School in October and to draw more givers.
Red Cross officials say the majority of young givers include high school seniors and college students. Bischoff will be welcoming them as well as many of her own age too.
Kravitski, meanwhile, will be waiting for the 56-day period between donations to expire so he can make more history.
The talented Bischoff took some time off from her blood seeking route on the night of Aug. 27, when she was the vocal soloist with the Ocean City Pops at the Ocean City Music Pier.
She had earned that right to perform by taking first place in the Pops orchestra vocal competition.