At 7:30 a.m. Thursday, July 6, we did not know how long it would take to bring in 100 donors to get NBC10 Philadelphia reporter Tim Furlong off the roof of the atrium here in the Christiana Donor Center.
It was at that time that Tim began his sojourn on the roof here Christiana, where the roof in the atrium overtop the call center matches the external roof. Joining him for much of the morning was Blood Bank of Delmarva Vice President Emily Cunningham
At 7:23 a.m., Technical Specialist Mandey Miller ran the donor report that showed the first two donors had officially donated, and Marketing Coordinator Sharon Brunell made the first sliver appear on the blood drop measuring our progress at 25, 50, 75 and 100 intervals.
By 8:05 a.m., Mandey and Sharon reported to Emily and Tim that the figure had climbed to 10 donors and that marker was the first indicator that this just might work.
Another strong indicator at the promotion’s effectiveness were the first donors who came in after they were inspired by Tim’s plea for help on the air either on Wednesday or early Thursday morning. Among them were fellow Salesianum School alumnus Jeff Fahnoe, who sat next to Tim in homeroom. Jeff was reminded by his wife, Erin Fahnoe, to come and donate when she saw Tim’s post on Facebook. Jeff donated platelets for the first time in 22 years, and Erin donated whole blood!
Whole blood donor Carl Kanefsky was the first person to comment on Tim’s Facebook post that he would sign up to donate during Anchor on the Roof. Tim welcomed hecklers and supporters alike to come back and visit him on the roof and Carl was a bit of both.
“I told them I would donate twice if it kept you up there,” Carl told Tim.
In all seriousness, though, Carl comes in regularly to donate because transfusions saved his sons’ lives while they were in the NICU across the street at ChristianaCare. While he was in the canteen, Carl reconnected with BBD volunteer Cecelia “Cel” Strecker, who was his boys’ nurse.
“It made me feel so good to hear how well his boys are doing,” Cel said.
Another donor, Matt Corrozi, was inspired by Tim to come in and donate.
“It’s amazing how social media can remind us to do things like this,” he said. “It’s a good tool to utilize.”
Stephen Smith and Grace Cassella were excited to donate during Anchor on the Roof as well, and they came back to the atrium to visit Tim after their required stay in the canteen. Stephen is a regular donor, and he encouraged Grace to come with him despite her aversion to needles.
“How was it?” Tim asked.
“I hated it, but afterwards you say to yourself, hey, I did a nice thing,” Grace said.
By 11 a.m., the Anchor on the Roof figure had jumped to 48 donors, and Emily left the roof to donate platelets and add to the figures to help Tim reach 100. Communications Specialist Tony Prado took her place so that Tim could continue his interviews for the day.
By 1:54 p.m., Sharon made the announcement, with the NBC 10 cameraman J.R. rolling, that Tim had not only reaches his goal, but surpassed it with 105 donors.
Janet Edwards noted as she donated with Blood Collection Tech Daisy Tannen that she usually misses the special events and promotions. She was glad that BBD held the Anchor on the Roof promotion to raise awareness about the constant need for blood. In fact, she does her own promoting of blood donations.
“I go on Facebook and say, ‘Have you donated lately? If not, get your butt in here,” Janet said. “My mom was in and out of the hospital. I just think it’s important that we help others.”
Denise and Patrick Allen watch Tim regularly on NBC 10, and they answered the call made by the “Anchor on the Roof.”
The same goes for Doreen and Mike Cavazzini, who are fans of Tim and watch NBC10 every day. Mike is a regular donor, but this was Doreen’s first time every donating blood!
“I’m here because of Tim Furlong,” Doreen said. “I saw him on the news. I always watch Channel 10 News. …And it reminded me that my husband has been wanting to give blood. I decided to go with him for the first time.
“It was interesting for me and I feel like I’m finally helping out,” she added. “If you want to help, give blood.”
Platelet donor George, another one of Tim’s viewers, said he donates platelets once a month.
“I’ve been doing it once a month for about twenty years now, and it’s always brought me good karma,” George said. “I tell everybody it’s good karma.” (In fact, while he was donating platelets, he received a purchase order for his company!)
Annie Hulings, one of young donors, came in and donated platelets for the first time. She appreciated the festive atmosphere.
“It was fun,” she said.
During Tim’s final NBC10 report for the day, he had good news to share, noting that social media campaign on his own pages, NBC10, not to mention the Salesianum and Padua Academy communities, were effective.
“As you can see, I did my job,” Tim reported. “It was a good day at the Blood Bank.”
Yes, it was. Thank you, Tim. With that, Tim “put his money where his mouth was” and donated himself for the first ever. He had a great experience, noting he didn’t even feel the needle when Blood Collection Tech Tiffany Vannatter executed her venipuncture. Director, Donor/Product Services Megan Johnson thanked Tim for donating and for pulling off a successful Anchor on the Roof.
Emily and Tim compared bandages in the canteen, and she also presented Tim with a certificate of appreciation for all that he did to raise awareness about our lifesaving mission.
And special thanks go to our Donor Services team which was here until 8 p.m. Thursday processing a grand total of 132 donors in the Christiana Donor Center and 308 donors in total. There’s not many days when we get to 300, so this was a success operations wise and from a public relations perspective.
Special thanks for this idea go to Director, Donor Resources Nicole Pineault and Account Manager Bryan Shepherd who learned about the Anchor on the Roof special promotion during one of the presentations made at the 2022 Annual ADRP Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. (Tony also attended the conference and Nicole asked him to tap into his media network to make this happen.)
And a big thank you goes to the BBD family for making this event possible, starting with VP Emily Cunningham, who sat with Tim on the roof through 11 o’clock in the morning, and Director, Donor/Product Services Megan Johnson, who welcomed Tim to the Christiana Donor Center bright and early on Thursday morning.
Director, Donor Resources Nicole Pineault was especially thankful to Manager, Facilities Chuck Needles whose passion for this project and his trusty staff of Bill Crowe, Andrew Lauer and John Scott made this happen from a physical perspective. Facilities ensured Tim was safe on the roof, and added to the ambiance. Speaking of which, Marketing Coordinator Sharon Brunell, was superb as she designed the signage for the event, coordinated the layout and decor of the atrium for our special guests and did a great job giving numerical updates to NBC10. We also want to note the support of Community Relations and Volunteer Specialist Angela Williamson who organized a squadron of volunteers for this event and brought out Delmar the Bloodhound, our beloved mascot. Supervisor Donor Scheduling Amy Proctor helped with setup and Director, Technical Operations Rachele Allison and Calendar Specialist Jamie Serrano were appreciated for their constructive criticism. (Jamie also helped Mandey with the regular donor reports.) A special shout out also goes to Manager, IT Cory Ferger and IT Network Specialist Tim Duperon for providing music through the speaker system to add to the ambience, and to NYBCe Chief Medial Officer Dr. Bruce Sachais for his support.
It goes without saying that we also appreciate the hardworking staff in Donor Services, the labs, Hospital Services, Logistics and all departments for stepping up during a busy special event.