MILTON, Del. – Patricia Greenwood and her mother, Sheila, climbed off the bloodmobile parked in front of Dogfish Head Brewery on Monday, May 20, each with bandages on their arms, and they crossed the street to Dogfish Head Brewing and Eats to get some refreshments.

The ladies sat down at an outdoor table on a sunny, warm, summerlike day, and after having eaten, they clanked their beer glasses together to celebrate their lifesaving act. It marked the second straight year that Patricia and Sheila participated in the Blood for a Brew campaign at Dogfish Head.

“We just really enjoyed last year. We had fun, and we’ve been on the lookout for the event since,” Patricia said. “We wanted to do it again.”

Indeed, the fourth annual Blood for a Brew campaign got off to a sizzling start thanks to donors like the Greenwoods. There were 50 total appointments booked at Dogfish Head, and additional walk-ins offset deferrals to push the total unit count collected to 53.

“We’ve never had a bad blood drive here,” Blood Bank of Delmarva Account Manager Ralph Groves said. “Dogfish Head always performs well.”

BBD’s partnership with 19 local breweries encourages young and first-time blood donors to step up and save a life in a fun setting. The summer period from Memorial Day through Labor Day represents a challenging period, with school breaks, family vacations, and holidays causing up to a 25% decline in donations. Encouraging blood donations during this difficult summer period is essential to making up for this deficit and meeting the needs of patients in Delmarva.

The very first donor of the day was Roberta Surra, who was interviewed by WRDE Coast TV when she exited the bloodmobile. As she explained to WRDE, it was a beautiful day to donate blood, and blood drives have a personal connection to her.

“My parents met giving blood,” said Surra, who has a family of her own now. “So, if it were not for a blood drive, I wouldn’t be here. They would have never met, because he was from New York State and she lived in Illinois. He was out there on a summer, college internship. They were both working for the county, and they donated blood next to each other.”

Surra’s story was Blood Bank of Delmarva Executive Director Steve Corse’s favorite of the day.

Corse, Director of Donor Services Megan Johnson, Director of Donor Recruitment Joanna Arat, and Marketing Manager Jason Burlew were at the Blood for a Brew kickoff along with special guests, Sussex County Director of Public Safety Robert Murray, Sussex County EMS Field Training Coordinator Jordan Dattoli, and blood recipient Jeff Allen, of nearby Bridgeville, Delaware.

Sussex County and New Castle County Paramedics are celebrating their one-year anniversary of providing pre-hospital whole blood to patients in the field.

“For us, we certainly see more trauma patients this time of year,” Murray said. “People are out walking more. People are on bicycles. Motorcyclists are out, so our trauma calls and blunt injuries go up. The expansion of the program in Delaware is going to increase the need for [pre-hospital] blood. So, we have to keep those blood donations coming in the summertime.”

Among those who answered the call was whole blood donor Zach Williams. He used to donate when he lived in Washington, DC, and now he lives in Milton.

After donating, Williams met Jeff Allen as he sat at one of the outside tables at Dogfish Head for lunch. Allen briefly recapped how he received countless red cell and platelet transfusions as he battled a nearly fatal case of acute myeloid leukemia in August 2020.

“You never know when it could be you,” said Allen, who coordinates the Could Be U Blood Drive. “That’s the importance of this.”

Do you want to donate during the Blood for a Brew campaign? Please go to DelmarvaBlood.org/brew or call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8 to make an appointment.

BBD thanks local media for covering Monday’s event: