WILMINGTON, Del. – The Salesianum School Fall Semester Blood Drive held Thursday, November 30 booked 56 appointments, and we collected 56 units on the dot.

“That was amazing,” said Blood Bank of Delmarva Director of Donor Recruitment Joanna Arat. (Joanna is an alum of Ursuline Academy.)

Arat and BBD Account Manager Gia Rivera were on location when New York Blood Center Enterprises Senior Vice President Patricia “Patty” Killeen and BBD Vice President Beau Tompkins visited Sallies on Thursday.

“I wanted to take him to one of our blood drives to see the set up and everything. I saw Salesianum on the schedule and I thought of BBD Communications Specialist Tony Prado (Sallies class of 1990) and our school interns [from last January],” Killen said. Killeen was referring to Sallies students who interned at the Blood Bank of Delmarva last winter.

Tompkins was impressed with the Sallies blood drive, but he was intrigued with the potential for future growth. Namely, the Salesianum blood drive coordinator, the Rev. Brian Zumbrum discussed with Joanna and Gia the idea of expanding blood drives which are currently held twice year, one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester.

“It will be exciting to watch this good relationship grow even more,” Beau said.

In sum, Father Brian, who is Campus Minister & Director of Activities at Salesianum, spoke with Joanna and Gia about having the bloodmobile come quarterly instead at Sallies.

“We were talking about doing more blood drives that are less infrastructure heavy on both you guys and us,” Father Brian said. “We can do them on a more regular basis for our parents, alumni and the broader community. We can just do them right in our parking lot [on the bloodmobile].”

He’s also trying to figure out the timing of the blood drives so that student athletes don’t miss out. For example, the football team could not donate on Thursday because they needed to practice for the state championship game held Friday, December 3. The team alone is greater than the 56 donors BBD saw on Thursday, so there is a sizeable group of students we were unable to reach today.

However, Salesianum Athletic Director Katie Godfrey represented the team and donated whole blood.

“I just want to help out anywhere I can,” she said. “I know blood is needed in the area, so I’m happy to step in.”

The Rev. Zumbrum said 56 appointments were filled because of the convenience afforded by the blood drive on the Salesianum campus.

“It’s a blend of faculty, staff and students. Of the students, I would say over 80 percent are first-time donors,” Father Brian said. “The need for blood is obviously always critical. Especially as a Catholic school, saving a life by donating [blood] is putting our faith into action.”

Among those first-time donors were Sallies juniors Noah Filliben and Cameron Cairns. They were the first 16-year-olds to donate at a Salesianum blood drive, and Father Brian congratulated them both.

“Father Brian just emailed us, and I signed up,” Noah said. “It wasn’t that bad. I wanted to get out of class.”

“I’m trying to do my part,” Cameron said. “I wanted to help people.”

Matthew Skorup, a 2019 graduate and a member of the Alumni Service Corps, donated for the first time since graduating from Sallies.

“I honestly don’t think I put much that much thought into it,” Matthew said. “I knew giving blood was a good thing to do, and I got the email to sign up. In school, I got to miss class so it was a win-win. And I had bragging rights. I wasn’t afraid of needles and I wasn’t afraid of blood.”

Danual Campbell, 18, senior, was a first-time donor. “I applied to a bunch of different nursing schools this past year and have gotten in. So, I figure why not start helping people?”

Last but not least, school registrar Marie Classen donated on Thursday for the first time in years. That was thanks to the FDA’s recent change on restrictions that had been in place to guard against mad cow disease in Europe.

“I lived in Germany and this is the first time I’ve donated in so many years,” she said. “I’m so excited because I’m O negative, and I’ve been wanting to do for so long.”