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Summer Blood Drive launch emphasizes constant need for blood

Seaford High School senior Hannah Henderson speaks about running three blood drives for BBD at her school during her remarks at the Summer Blood Drive launch.

Blood Bank of Delmarva’s Summer Blood Drive launch on May 21 brought together special guests, sponsors, staff and members of the public to help raise awareness about the constant need for blood.

The crowd filled up the seats in the atrium for the formal remarks, and the event received media coverage by WHYY TV and FM, Channel 6ABC, Channel 10NBC and WJBR 99.5 FM.

BBD Executive Director Michele Hart-Henry on Monday asked members of the audience to raise their hands if they were planning to go to the beach or take some other vacation this summer. Most people’s arms shot up.

“The theme of this year’s Summer Blood Drive is, ‘What are you doing this summer?’” Hart-Henry said. “While most people will have vacation and weekend trips to the beach on their minds this summer, we are just asking people to remember that the need for blood never takes a vacation. In the summer, we lose our college and high school blood drives that comprise 20 percent of blood collected during the school year. On top of that drop off, more people are active in the summertime, leading to a need for blood.”

Christiana Care Trauma Center Associate Director Sherry Sixta, M.D., who was among BBD’s special guests for the launch, stressed the ongoing need for blood in the “business of saving lives.”

“Christiana Care Hospital is the only level one trauma center in the State of Delaware,” Dr. Sixta said. “We see nearly all of the critically ill trauma patients within our state, and we also support the surrounding Tri-State region. Simply put, transfusions save lives. We could not do what we do without the generosity of donors like we have here today or our relationship with the Blood Bank of Delmarva.”

Seaford High School graduating senior Hannah Henderson, another special guest, coordinated three blood drives at her school for BBD this school year and filled appointments with students, staff, school board members, parents and even alumni.

“It’s helped me connect with my community more while reaching out to donors, and it has opened my eyes to the true effect donating blood has on communities,” Henderson said.

Among BBD’s other specials guests, former blood recipient John Nanni talked about how the blood donations from 12 people saved his life during major heart surgery, inspiring him to donate platelets 273 times, and counting. The audience also met Chris Melvin and her daughter, Elizabeth “Lee Lee” Cauffman, who was saved by five units of blood after a serious car accident in June 2010.

Other guests included New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, who gave welcoming remarks; John Gentile, staff assistant for U.S. Senator Tom Carper, a longtime blood donor; platelets donor Dan Grim and his wife, Pat, who lost their eldest daughter to cancer; Michael Healy, director of blood bank services at Christiana Care; Linda Wirt, St. Georges Technical High School medical assisting teacher and coordinator of the STG blood drives; and St. Georges students Ashley Smith and Rose Buesmaill, who will run their school’s blood drives next year.

BBD would like to give a special thanks to corporate sponsors, TD Bank and Bayshore Moving & Storage as well as Desserts by Dana, Sherm’s Catering, Red Frog Events and Sam’s Club in Salisbury, Md., for their in-kind donations.

Reminder: All donors who present to donate during the Summer Blood Drive from May 21 to Sept. 30 will be automatically entered for a chance to win a trip for four to Disney World.

And from May 21 to May 29, donors will also automatically be entered to win two free general admission weekend passes to Firefly Music Festival set for June 14-17, 2018!

Please call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 or visit www.donate.bbd.org to make an appointment. And have a happy, safe summer.