Memorial Blood Drive Among Donor-Recruitment Successes

Donors were in the spotlight at two recent Bush Campus Center events: a Sept. 5-6 blood drive in memory of Patrick M. Breen, a longtime General Services employee who died June 25 at the age of 58, and a Sept. 5 “Be the Match” effort to find compatible volunteers for bone-marrow donations or cord-blood transfusions.

Mindy J. Colony, first-shift custodian, and Charles J. Stopper, carpenter/maintenance worker, pay valuable tribute to their late friend and GS co-worker during a blood drive in his honor. (Photo by Carl L. Shaner)

Red Cross Blood Drive
One hundred-and-fifty-five pints of blood – which will benefit up to 465 patients – were collected over the two-day drive, which had a robust goal of 120 units.

“I pray we did Pat Breen justice, because he was an amazing man,” said Marge Smith, account manager for the American Red Cross’ Northeastern Pennsylvania Region. “I thank those who waited much longer than normal to donate blood to help us honor Pat.”

Breen was a beloved first-shift custodian, stationed for much of his college employment in the very building where the blood drive was held.

As noted in College Health Services, the need for blood never takes a day off: not for a holiday, the perfect beach day or even a rainy day. And this season’s storms have forced the cancellation of many blood drives, resulted in more uncollected donations in Central Pennsylvania.

Patrick M. Breen, in the midst of a "Power Red" blood donation in April 2006. (File photo)

“Thank you to all of the blood donors for helping during this time of need and remembrance, and thank you to all of the community donors who answered the call for help during this crucial drive,” said Carl L. Shaner, health services director.

“You are lifesavers, and we are grateful for your support of our mission.”

He particularly applauded the local Red Cross chapter, student organizations, campus departments, faculty/staff, students and alumni who stepped up to fill the shortfall by showing up in Penn’s Inn.

Many donors brought first-timers and returnees alike, making sure that everyone made (and kept) their appointment.

“Blood has a shelf life of 42 days,” Shaner added, “and there is no substitute.” Bart’s Pizza and Weis bakery co-sponsored the event, providing free pizza and baked goods to participants.

Morgan K. Ebersole, a graphic design major from Martinsburg, stops by the "Be the Match" display near the CC elevator. (Photo by Rachel A. Eirmann, student photographer)

Be the Match
The “Be the Match” program seeks to add donors to its international registry of compatible volunteers willing to donate bone marrow or undergo an umbilical cord blood transfusion for a patient in need.

With a simple scan of a bar code, submission of contact information and a brief medical history, members of the campus community (ideally, those between 18 and 44) signed up to receive a cheek-swab kit by which to return a DNA sample by mail.

The registry drive, ideally aimed at attracting donors between ages 18 and 44, heralded the Sept. 15 observance of World Marrow Donor Day.

Penn College is a special mission affiliate of Penn State