Donation Hall of Fame

Fresenius Kabi is proud to partner with blood centers through the Donation Hall of Fame to recognize individuals who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to blood donation. Blood centers across the country submit nominations from which inductees are chosen annually based on their demonstrated commitment and passion to donating blood and/or encouraging blood donation.

We invite you to nominate a donor or another individual who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment and passion for donating blood and/or encouraging blood donation. Anyone can submit a nomination and there is no limit to the number of nominations per blood center. 

How to nominate a donor

Send us an email with the story of your most inspiring donor at info.usa@fresenius-kabi.com.

Be sure to include the following information in your nomination:

  • Donor Name
  • Blood Center Name and Location  
  • Tell us about your nominee
    • Please include details in your nomination about the person’s commitment and dedication to donating blood or being a volunteer or how they are an advocate to create awareness on the need for blood. The more detail the better. 

Click here to nominate a donor today!

When inducted into the Fresenius Kabi Donation Hall of Fame, there are several ways an individual is recognized:

  • At a ceremony held at their nominating blood center where they will receive a personalized award
  • They will be featured in the Fresenius Kabi Product and Donor Eligibility Dating Calendar and on this website
  • A template news release will be provided to the nominating blood center to promote their story through local media

 


2021 Donation Hall of Fame Inductees 

Candy Yolles 

San Diego Blood Bank
San Diego, CA
 

GATHERINGS OF GIVING 

Candy Yolles has been more than a regular donor. She started in 1994 chairing drives for her work for 11 years encouraging employees to give. Then in 2008 for the past 14 years she’s been the host of her own personal drive “Candy’s Friends and Family Blood Drive” personally inviting donors and ensuring that each of them has a positive experience. And in-between her own drives, especially around holidays when there is a critical need, Candy coordinates additional group gatherings of friends and family at donation centers. When COVID-19 hit, Candy knew that patients would still be needing blood—but she also knew that donors might be hesitant. She immediately rallied a group to give, leading by example and reassuring them that they would be safe. 

To date Candy has recruited more than 100 first-time donors, many of whom she has encouraged to become regular donors—including within her own family. She has inspired her 2 sisters, nephews, niece, brother n laws, husband and her two children to give frequently. 

Whether reassuring a new donor, encouraging a regular one, or providing individual guidance to new advocates who want to coordinate blood drives of their own, Candy educates and empowers everyone she knows to help others. 

Scott Hamilton

American Red Cross
Apheresis Carolinas Region

Durham, NC

ANOTHER WAY TO SERVE

Scott Hamilton's support of the American Red Cross Blood program began with his time in the military, in the 1980’s, at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Like his father, a veteran of World War II, he believed in service. He also shared a belief with his father that donating blood was another way to serve, so he continued to give after he left the military. 

In 2000, while working for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Scott began donating platelets. He gave every two weeks, on Thursday afternoons, and came to be appreciated for his reliability and “good veins”. A consistent Triple Donor, each of Scott’s donations has the potential to help multiple patients.

Scott’s extraordinary commitment has helped to save and improve countless lives. He retired from UNC in 2016, allowing him to spend more time with his family—especially his Granddaughter Sienna—but he still makes time for visits to the Platelet Center. His service to the community is truly unending. 

Russell Heerdt

LifeServe Blood Center
Des Moines, IA

WORK WORTH DOING

In 2001, after going through surgery for cancer, Russell Heerdt was inspired to become a blood donor. He moved to Des Moines in 2008 and, since then, has donated thirty times, giving over 6 gallons of blood. Russell understands the importance of a safe and stable community blood supply and, with his O negative blood type, is always willing to donate double red cells.

But Russell's dedication does not stop at donating blood—in 2010 Russell began volunteering his time as a driver. No matter the time of day, or night, Russell drove supplies and products to donor centers and hospital partners around the state. In addition to driving, Russell assists with odd-jobs and projects, including donor services, recruitment and even handyman! In just 11 short years, Russell has already volunteered over 4,900 hours and counting.

Russell’s impact is truly immense and he is well respected throughout the blood center and community for his commitment and work. When asked how he stays so motivated through all these years, he said, “I am enjoying my retirement volunteering here. I would rather ‘work’ like this than play golf…this gives me something to do and feel good about.”

Martha Waller 

Mississippi Blood Services
Flowood, MS

FINDING A SILVER LINING

Martha Waller became a donor because of her experience as a COVID-19 patient. She was referred as a possible COVID convalescent plasma (CCP) donor through Anderson Regional Health System in Meridian, MS. When the center team reached out and asked Martha if she would be willing to consider CCP donations, she said yes. 

Antibody tests confirmed that she was the perfect candidate for CCP, except for one major drawback. Martha lives in Waynesboro, more than a two-hour drive from Flowood, where the center was set up to do CCP donations. But she didn’t let it stop her. Martha happily presented to donate plasma 12 times in 2020—despite the four-hour round-trip drive. 

When her antibody titer count became too low to donate CCP, she asked if she could switch over to a different type of donation so that she could continue to help save lives in Mississippi. She knows there may come a time when she won’t be able to give anymore, so for now she says “I want to donate as often as l can.”

Nick Politis 

OneBlood, Inc.
Miami, FL

NOURISHING A HEALTHIER COMMUNITY

In addition to being a dedicated platelet donor himself, Nick Politis has made blood donation an integral part of his business, Mr. Green’s Produce, for over a decade. He has sponsored blood and platelet drives, each time leading the way by donating his own platelets. He encourages his staff to donate by finding fun incentives to offer them at every drive, and often sends home fresh fruits and vegetables with the center staff—as a “thank you” for the lifesaving work that they do every day.  

Just as Nick did in previous times of national crisis, like the 9/11 tragedy and many Florida hurricanes, when the COVID pandemic began he called right away to set up a platelet donation appointment. He has continued to run regular drives throughout the pandemic at his business and he continues to find the time to donate at other location in between the drives that he hosts. 

Nick recently moved his business to a new location, bringing fruits and vegetables to a community lacking access to fresh produce. Moving a business is no small task, but it didn’t stop Nick from sponsoring blood drives at his new location soon after his move. Whether building the blood supply or providing healthy food options, Nick Politis is a community business owner who makes a difference.

Lourdes Cofresi 

OneBlood, Inc.
Miami, FL

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION 

Lourdes Cofresi is the National Honor Society Advisor at Christopher Columbus High School. For the last eight years she has also been their Blood Drive Coordinator. Twice a year she leads a committee in strategizing new ways to educate, encourage, and support potential new donors—ultimately scheduling anywhere from 60 to 120 appointments each time. Her efforts have won her OneBlood’s Coordinator of the Year.

Her commitment stems from a diagnosis in 2003 of a clotting disorder, Factor 7 deficiency, that makes her susceptible to bleeding out during surgery or trauma. Lourdes can’t donate the blood she might need someday, so she works diligently to engage those who can. 

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, Lourdes was contacted by a Columbus alumnus who wanted to host a blood drive. Proud of the former student’s initiative and eager to make the event a success, she got permission to be on the closed school campus and then sent out emails to get donors to sign up online. With Lourdes on the team, interest and participation soared. And of course, she was the first person on site and stayed, under a tree in the hot South Florida sun, until the last donor was done. Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, Lourdes went on to set up two more drives at the school last year. Under her gracious, caring, and watchful eye, each drive produced over 30 pints—and everyone participating stayed safe.  

Tim Thompson

Blood Assurance
Cartersville, GA

A CHAMPION FOR THE CAUSE

Tim Thompson has been a blood and platelet donor with Blood Assurance since 2003, personally donating over 23 gallons. During 2020, he was forced to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure to ensure the safety of the blood supply. His first time back in the chair was after a long wait of a few weeks and when he sat down he said, “It feels good to be home.”

Tim was also the Blood Drive Coordinator for Chemical Products Company, promoting the drive to the 110 employees he works with and generally getting about 25% of them to participate. Since 2009, his company has collected over 1,600 units for patients in need. Even with the pandemic going on, they managed to host five blood drives in 2020. 

Tim talks about the center and blood donation everywhere he goes, wearing the Blood Assurance jacket that he earned by giving platelets 24 times in one year. He encourages his coworkers to donate platelets outside of the drives, and has recruited several of them to become regular platelet donors. He has a passion for blood donation, is a champion in his community, and his efforts as a donor and a coordinator have potentially saved thousands of lives. 

Laurie Brey

Versiti Blood Center of Illinois
Grayslake, IL

MAKING EVERY DONOR FEEL VALUED

Laurie learned of the importance of blood donation at a local community drive and was hooked immediately. She makes sure to arrange her schedule to capitalize on every single donation opportunity she can find. She currently has 36 donations under her belt and is a loyal 4 times a year whole blood donor—even during COVID.

Wanting to continue the rewarding feeling and help those within her community, Laurie began hosting even larger blood drives, starting at her church and ultimately bringing them to her work at a large insurance company. She takes the time to contact donors personally to educate them on the value of blood donation and schedule their appointment. She always takes care of her donors on the day of the drive with treats—whether it is coffee cakes or homemade masks. Laurie has Tobias their LLC comfort dog attend many of her drives since he is such a calming force to all that love on him. She makes every drive special giving a big thank you to each donor. In 2020 her drives brought in 265 donations.

Laurie goes out of her way with extraordinary efforts to make sure local communities can benefit from her blood drive, joining the center in its diverse donor focus in 2021. She makes sure she has materials translated into Spanish, and gets support from her church, so that all potential donors know and understand how important their donation is—especially given the special blood types that many of the diverse donors in her community have.

Amy Ziegler

Vitalant
Denver, CO

DOING WHAT IT TAKES 

In 1999 Amy Ziegler, the PE Teacher at Dakota Ridge High School, began hosting blood drives. She promotes each drive herself, gets students and staff to fill out the sign-up sheet, comes in early to hang the blood drive signs all over the school, sets up the gym with tables and chairs, and meets the crew before the event starts. 

Many high schools are hesitant to allow students to be out of class to donate blood, but Amy has been an incredible liaison with her school to allow students to give during school hours. And when autopheresis devices became available for high schools to collect double red cells and plasma, Amy championed the new technology, so that students could make the most of each donation.

Though it has been difficult during the pandemic for many schools to host blood drives, Amy advocated for the importance of donations during this time, and worked with her administration to host an event on the campus. Since she couldn’t promote the drive with her usual posters she reached out to students digitally, using social media to share information and making an online sign-up sheet with all the relevant forms, including those for parental consent. No matter what else is going on, Amy wants her students to understand the importance of donating blood and helping the community.
 

Jim Abernathy

OneBlood, Inc.
Palm Harbor, FL

KEEPING OTHERS SAFE

Jim Abernathy didn’t like needles, but when he learned of a blood drive in his office building that he could go to during his lunch hour he decided to give it a try. Surprised at how smoothly it went, he became a regular donor. In 2012 he moved to Florida and found a center near his new home—and between July 2012 and March 2017, he donated a total of 15 times. 

The following month, his 12-year-old son Jackson was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a very rare type of cancer, the treatment for which required both whole blood and platelet transfusions on a regular basis. When Jim saw firsthand the daily need for blood, he committed to donating as often as possible. Jackson was type O-, and Jim is O+, so he knew Jackson wasn't using his blood but depended on others to keep him safe—and Jim wanted to help provide that safety for the many other patients going through similar cancer treatments. This led to him donating platelets, which he has been doing most weekends for the past four years. 

Jim was a blood donor before it was personal, but now he donates in honor of his son, who passed away in April of 2020. Since Jackson was diagnosed, Jim has donated more than 76 times. Jim has donated over 20 gallons and hopes to keep going until he reaches 100.

The Ivory Family

Community Blood Center
Dayton, OH

A LEGACY OF GIVING

Mike Ivory grew up in a big Irish-Polish family, and as the youngest he was modestly gleeful on April 21, 2021 to be the fourth Ivory sibling to reach the milestone of 100 lifetime blood donations. “I’m the last of 11 children, eight boys and three girls,” said Mike. “We’re all doing it. It was something instituted by our parents, Bob and Josephine Ivory. Donating what you have—clothes, money, or blood—to those in need.” His brother Jim even remembers hurrying with his mother to the center to donate blood after the 1974 Xenia tornado, “We ended up being the first to have blood drawn.”

Jim leads the family with 304 lifetime donations, followed by Bill with 192 and Tim with 134. Eight of the surviving Ivory siblings are donors and as of August 2021 they had collectively made 887 donations. “I’m honored to be part of this family,” said Jim, who after heart surgery can no longer donate. “I always tried to get people to go.” 

Mike didn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic break his streak of donating, with four platelet and plasma donations in 2020 and more than double that number in 2021, including a COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma donation. It’s an uphill climb to catch up to his brothers in donations, but that’s a source of inspiration. “I really had that goal of 100, but I’m not going to stop,” he said. “My goal now is 200—and to find out where my brothers’ numbers are!”

Wes Wright

American Red Cross
Ashville Fixed Site 

A BIG SMILE AND A KIND HEART

Wes Wright grew up learning of the importance of blood donation from his father, a hospital administrator, and appreciates that in donating he is helping people he will never meet. He began donating platelets in 1983 in Winston Salem, and has been a loyal platelet donor in Asheville since 1992. A Senior Vice President at a bank in Asheville, Wes can be found at the center just about every other Friday, rolling up his sleeves with a smile to donate platelets. Recently, he celebrated his 100th platelet donation, but his impact at the center goes far beyond the blood he donates—he enjoys getting to know the staff and the other donors, and his kindness makes everyone’s day better when he comes in to give.

Wes is a devoted father of ten children, five of whom were adopted internationally and several of whom have special needs. He and his wife have had their hands full at home, but he still makes time to donate every other week. He keeps his appointments scheduled out as far as possible and plans to continue to give as long as he is allowed. The many lives he has saved are a testament to Wes’s unending generosity.


2020 Inductees

Marsha Asplin    

Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center
Houston, TX                                                

ADVOCACY THAT WORKS LIKE A CHARM   

For 37 years, at least twice a month, Marsha has donated split platelets. She’s accumulated 1,375 lifetime donations — more than 170 gallons. But that’s just a small part of her contribution.

When Marsha’s not donating, she is spreading the word about blood donation as a Commit for Life volunteer. Since 2004, she’s volunteered more than 13,000 hours. Her passion and excitement make her a frequently requested team member at drives, and her leadership and teaching skills make her an especially effective recruiter of new volunteers and donors.

Everyone she speaks to comes away with a deep sense of the importance of blood donation and their vital role in the mission — and few can escape her charm. Once, at a drive, a donor said she was retiring and wasn’t sure what she would do with her free time. Marsha suggested volunteering, and now the two ladies can be found encouraging others to join the cause — together!
 

Andrew Azan    

American Red Cross                   
Northeast Region of Pennsylvania
Ashley, PA

AN EXPANDING CIRCLE OF DOING GOOD    

Andrew is a dedicated, long-time blood donor, but his commitment to the cause led him to building a broad and growing family of regular sponsors, donors, and volunteers in his Pennsylvania community. Seeing a need for more local events, Andrew started monthly blood drives in Northampton County across multiple locations — country clubs, community centers, and YMCAs. Andrew promotes, attends, donates and volunteers at every one of them. But he doesn’t stop there.

To celebrate everyone’s participation and energize them to continue giving — and spread the word to their families and friends — Andrew created an annual recognition program for his sponsors and his donors, held at one of his sponsor sites.

Recently, Andrew has set his sights on engaging the next generation of donors. Active in the Boy Scouts, he’s mentored an Eagle Scout and helped him start his own successful blood drives at a local fire house. Andrew proves to us all just how expansive one person’s impact can be.
 

Steven Davidson

LifeStream Blood Bank
San Bernardino, CA

FIGHT WITH ME AS A FAMILY

Steven’s battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia began when he was diagnosed on his 10th birthday. To pass the time while in the hospital, he and his mom created an Instagram page called Steven The Cancer Crusher to bring awareness and love to those affected by cancer. His social media following quickly grew to more than 4,500 followers offering encouragement and support.

In his hometown, Steven has become a well-known superhero and role model, creating awareness campaigns and hosting blood drives with collaborations from the local bike and lowrider community. His magnetic charm and optimism shines through even as he continues his personal battle.

His dream is to keep helping people, to keep people’s hopes high, and to give people strength and inspiration. When Steven grows up, he hopes to become a doctor or scientist and help find a cure for cancer. With his warrior’s mindset, nothing is impossible. “I may be just a kid,” Steven says, “but I’ve inspired thousands to fight with me as a family."

Wendy Ellis    

American Red Cross                                
Portland Donation Center
Portland, OR

SERVING THE WORLD THROUGH GIVING

When the Red Cross started its blood services program during World War II, Wendy’s parents signed up. Her two brothers served during the Vietnam War and became blood donors. Wendy continued the family tradition, when, as a student at Portland State College, a professor had an accident and there was a request for blood donations.

With a rare blood type, Wendy became an often-called-on donor, and gave whole blood for many years, racking up 171 donations. In 1979, when platelet donating first started, she switched over. “I could donate every two weeks!” she says. At 75, she is nearing her 500th platelet donation — continuing even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What keeps her coming back? After college, Wendy worked for a bank in the international department. “It gave me an appreciation of the interconnectedness of our world,” she says. And donating, to her, “is a way to take that extra step for your friends or neighbors or fellow citizens. It saves lives, literally! I am still in awe of that fact.
 

Sunnie Fenk

Vitalant at Parkway Center
Pittsburgh, PA

HONORING ALL THE PATIENTS IN OUR LIVES

Sonja — “Sunnie” to her friends — started donating platelets three years ago when two close friends were diagnosed with leukemia. She was looking for a way to help. “Because of the nature of their illness,” she says, “I couldn’t do much more than send cards. When I found out about platelet donation and how they’re used for cancer patients, it was perfect. I decided I would donate regularly.”

Now she visits the center to donate every two to three weeks. She’s a cheerleader for the cause, convincing friends to donate with her as part of a lunch date or urging others, through social media, to consider giving platelets.

When Sunnie heard about her center’s idea for “platelet parties,” she jumped at the chance to be the first hostess. “I think it’s a fantastic idea. Since I started posting about the parties, I found that most people don’t know why platelets are needed, but everyone knows someone who’s had cancer. I explain to them that this is your way to honor them, by helping other cancer patients who are fighting for their lives.”
 

Elaine and Mark Fredricks    

American Red Cross                             
Salem Donation Center
Salem, OR

A COUPLE WITH LOVE ENOUGH TO SHARE

With beaming smiles, Elaine and Mark arrive at the center to donate platelets every two weeks, like clockwork. Elaine, a Certified Nursing Assistant who helps homebound patients in the community, says she’s simply paying forward the gift of 26 units she received in 2004 during her recovery from emergency surgery. Mark says he’s just doing his bit to help others.

Together, Mark and Elaine have donated more than 500 times. And with each visit, the couple brings their energy and kind words. On special occasions, like donor-appreciation events, they’ve even arrived with crocheted stuffed animals, the products of Elaine’s crafting talent.

Mark and Elaine lift the spirits of staff, volunteers, and donors alike. They are heroes not just for their generous platelet donations, but for showing us all how to live more joyful lives.
 

John Jenkins    

OneBlood
Lake Park, FL

WHEN SELFLESS GIVING GIVES BACK

John started donating years ago after seeing a commercial on television about the need for blood. It’s not surprising, given his commitment to helping others. He volunteers at Florida’s Roosevelt Elementary School tutoring 2nd and 3rd graders and reading to 1st grade students. He works with his fraternity — Omega Psi Phi — to secure scholarships for graduating seniors and on a variety of social action projects. And he assists with community outreach programs at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

When John first gave blood, he was surprised to find it so easy and painless, and it soon became one of his passions. He has donated more than 550 times, and through his role as an administrator at the local community college, John champions a mobile blood drive program. But it wasn’t until his daughter needed a transfusion in 2019 that the importance of what he was doing really hit home. To know that blood was available for her made him realize that all blood donors are heroes.
 

Kris Kavelaris                  

Versiti 
Milwaukee, WI

EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE   

The accident in 1998 changed the course of his life. Kris ended up in the hospital for three months where he had four surgeries, received blood transfusions, and had to learn to walk again. The doctors and nurses – and blood donors – had saved his life.

When Kris was released, he felt he had to make a difference, and he started donating blood as a way to give back. With a rare, O-negative blood type — found in just 7 percent of the U.S. population — he’s a highly desired “universal donor” whose blood products are critical for trauma cases and emergency rooms.

Kris is a loyal blood donor, and although at retirement age, he isn’t done finding ways to help people in need. He has enrolled in Milwaukee Area Technical College’s nursing program and is passionate about spreading the message of donation. “It feels so satisfying. Ask yourself — if not me and you, then who? If not today, then when?"

Joe McDonald

San Diego Blood Bank
San Diego, CA

HONOR, COURAGE AND COMMITMENT

Joe embodies the values of a Marine – honor, courage and commitment. He’s a Vietnam veteran, a husband, father, and grandfather, and at times, even Santa Claus.

Joe joined the Marines when he was 18. In 1963, aboard the USS Springfield, he donated blood for the first time for a fellow Corps member. Since then, Joe has traveled the world, visiting 50 countries and he’s been present for historic events. Joe shook hands with John F. Kennedy two days before he was elected president. Joe was in Washington DC where he witnessed Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.

Through it all, Joe has made it a priority to support those in need, donating blood for patients and bringing joy to children and adults alike by playing Santa. It’s another tradition he developed in the Marines, when he delivered toys to an orphanage in Vietnam.

Joe plans to reach his lifetime goal of 100 gallons within a year — and, true to the Marine tradition, is letting nothing stand in his way."
 

Michael Otterman

Blood Assurance
Chattanooga, TN                             

IN HELPING OTHERS, WE HEAL OURSELVES

Mike’s connection to blood donation is deeply personal. His daughter, Simone, was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia as an infant and passed away shortly before her 2nd birthday. “During her time in treatment, she used bags of blood and platelets and I remember being so thankful of those nameless people who donated for her. Since the loss of my little girl, I’ve been giving platelets every month. Not only does it allow me time to reconnect and remember Simone, but I know the value of my blood products to other people who desperately need help.”

As CEO and President of Lodge Cast Iron, an organization with deep roots in Tennessee, Mike is also a believer in the positive impact that doing good can have on employees and communities, bringing people together, especially in times of crisis. So he’s championed blood drives at the company for years, collecting 784 units since 2009. And as COVID-19 began to pose challenges for the blood supply, Mike lent his voice to a campaign encouraging other local businesses to safely re-open their doors for donation events or join the cause for the first time.
 

Warren Pitcher                                        

LifeServe Blood Center
Des Moines, IA    

DRIVEN (AND DRIVING) TO SERVE

Warren grew up seeing his father donate blood regularly, and today he carries on the family tradition. With O+ blood, he steps up with whatever is most needed — platelets, plasma, double red cells, or whole blood — 16 gallons worth over 100 donations.

But Warren’s influence reaches well beyond the blood he donates. He has been the primary chairperson for his church’s blood drive for more than 25 years. During his tenure, Warren has touched the lives of thousands of hospital patients. He’s also one of the community’s longest-tenured and most dependable volunteer drivers — the perfect fit for someone who taught drivers education for almost 20 years. Warren has spent more than 4,000 hours transporting blood products to hospitals for transfusions, or to laboratories for processing.

When asked what keeps him going after all these years, Warren’s answer is clear: “I enjoy the people and giving back. And I know the only way patients can receive blood is through donations."
 

Rush Roberts

OneBlood
St. Petersburg, FL

FIRST IN LINE TO HELP OTHERS

Rush has been a Hillsborough County firefighter and paramedic for almost 14 years. On the job as a first responder, he contracted COVID-19 during an emergency call.

Rush had planned to compete in an Ironman race. Instead he ended up fighting for his life. After 21 days of quarantine and emergency room visits, he finally received a negative test indicating he had won the battle. And true to his profession, his second question — after first asking when he could visit with his family again — was, “When and where can I donate convalescent plasma?"

Not surprisingly, Rush became the first donor at his center to come back and donate his second round of convalescent plasma — and to schedule his third. Despite the difficulties he’s been through, he considers himself luckier than most and wants nothing more than to help others overcome this disease.