Hey Kids! Let's Put on a Blood Drive!
This blog was written by Scott Fleetwood.
Waaaay back in 2017, I received a double lung transplant to save my life. To this day, I do not know who my donor was!
So, as a way of giving back, and paying forward, we have been doing some little things along the way that we hope are helping our community.
While in Pittsburgh, as I was recovering from my double lung transplant, my wife (Debbie) and daughter (Emily) saw a sign on the Pitt Campus promoting a blood drive. As my wife was a regular ConnectLife blood donor, my daughter had never donated blood before! This would be her first time, and because they all had a wonderful experience, when we finally came home to Buffalo, they became regular ConnectLife blood donors! My brother (Mark) would join Emily in donating platelets on a regular basis. Debbie has a rarer blood type, so she donates whole Blood along with my Aunt Karen (Farley).
Using the name we used on social media about our Transplant Journey, we call ourselves “#TeamFleetwood”
As we have been supporters of ConnectLife for quite a while now, I contacted ConnectLife to see if we could do a blood drive at our house! As it turns out, ConnectLife is not afraid of trying anything!
We wanted this blood drive to be dedicated in honor of my anonymous donor, and anonymous donors everywhere. So, we thought my Third Lungiversay would be perfect. We could celebrate with family, friends (old and new) and anybody who has helped us along on our transplant journey. It was decided that we could have a bus come to our house for a few hours…10 AM to 3 PM...originally!
The whole process was quite easy. After setting the date with ConnectLife, we set some goals to meet. We began promoted the event, which included the ConnectLife Blood Drive Bus, a Bicycle and Basket Raffle, games, music, food, and refreshments. Through word of mouth and social media, we were able to set up a schedule for our friends and family while meeting their individual needs. Leading up to The Big Day, we made the obligatory trip to the membership warehouse club for snacks and beverages, assembled a few gift baskets, and pre-ordered a couple of sheet pizzas.
Everything was going very well! I was in daily contact with Heather from ConnectLife, making sure everything was in place, local law enforcement was notified, neighbors were all notified, word was really getting out. That’s when we realized we had more people volunteering to donate blood than we slots for! Good Grief! What are we gonna do?! We’re gonna need a BIGGER Bus! Well, even though we could not actually get another bus on such short order, we were able to get ConnectLife to extend their stay an hour!
We did have to do some very minor juggling on the day of the event, a couple of last-minute cancellations and quite a few walk-ups. Heather did a fantastic job getting as many blood donors in as possible! Lots of friends and neighbors stopped by to say hi, drop off basket to donate, donate blood and money, and try their luck at winning the ConnectLife/#TeamFleetwood Bicycle along with any of the seven baskets we gave away. We were able to practice social distancing, of course, and we made sure we had enough refreshments on hand…water, coffee, juice, soft drinks, fresh fruit, and breakfast snacks in the morning, and after noon we added pizza and my TOP SECRET Pineapple Dole Whip Cupcakes! ConnectLife, as usual, provided their own snacks and beverages!
All in all, it all went well…as it turns out, we did ‘pretty good’! We had a pretty decent weather day we were prepared for. It was a very nice community event, where a lot of our neighbors came by and said hello, a lot of friends, family, and people from as far away is Niagara County came! We were able to collect 36 units of blood and $550 in cash that will help ConnectLife a little bit with all the wonderful work that they do…and best of all, a good time was had by all!
Next year…TWO buses!
Photos from the event, courtesy of the Fleetwood family...