LAKE ZURICH, Ill., November 9, 2021 – Fresenius Kabi announced today it inducted 12 people and groups as the 2021 class of the Fresenius Kabi Blood Donation Hall of Fame. The nationwide program recognizes and shares the unique stories of people who are passionate about and committed to blood donation.
Every year, Fresenius Kabi accepts nominations from blood centers to honor selfless people by featuring their stories in a specialized calendar used by blood centers across the country. In addition to recognizing individuals, Fresenius Kabi honors groups who have joined together to give back to their communities by donating blood or volunteering time to blood donation efforts.
The need for blood is clear and constant. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and/or platelets, and patients require an estimated 36,000 units of red blood cells each day to treat a variety of potentially life-threatening medical conditions including cancer, organ transplants and complications following an accident or trauma. An estimated 6.8 million people in the U.S. donate blood each year, playing a critical role in maintaining the nation’s blood supply and providing lifesaving resources for patients across the country.
“This year’s inductees showed an extraordinary dedication to helping others by selflessly donating and volunteering time to ensure this life-saving resource is available to anyone in need during a pandemic, and we are honored to recognize their exceptional contributions to the community,” said Dean Gregory, President, Global Commercial Operations, Transfusion Medicine and Cell Therapies, Fresenius Kabi. “For more than 70 years, Fresenius Kabi has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with blood centers, donors and volunteers to help ensure patients have access to blood.”
Below is background on this year’s inductees and why they were recognized:
- Candy Yolles donates at the San Diego Blood Bank. She started chairing drives in 1994 and for the past 14 years she’s been the host of “Candy’s Friends and Family Blood Drive,” personally inviting donors and ensuring that each of them has a positive experience. To date, Yolles has recruited more than 100 first-time donors, many of whom have since become regular donors.
- Scott Hamilton donates at the American Red Cross in Durham, NC. His support of blood donation began with his time in the military in the 1980s. He continues today because he sees donating as another way to serve. In 2000, while working for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hamilton began donating platelets. He donates every two weeks, and his commitment has helped save and improve countless lives.
- Russell Heerdt donates at the LifeServe Blood Center in Des Moines, Iowa. After cancer surgery, he was inspired to become a blood donor. He’s given more than six gallons of blood, but his dedication goes further. In 2010 he began volunteering as a driver to bring supplies and products to blood centers and hospitals. To date, he’s logged nearly 5,000 volunteer hours.
- Martha Waller donates at Mississippi Blood Services in Flowood, Mississippi. She began donating because of her experience as a COVID-19 patient. She was identified as a candidate to donate convalescent plasma (CCP) by a local health system, and began doing so after she recovered, making the four-hour commute to the nearest plasma center 12 times in 2020.
- Nick Politis donates at OneBlood, Inc. in Miami, Florida. In addition to being a regular platelet donor, he has made blood donation an integral part of his family business, Mr. Green’s Produce. He sponsors blood drives at work, and he sends center staff home with fresh fruits and vegetables as a “thank you.” After he moved locations, he quickly started hosting blood drives in his new space.
- Lourdes Cofresi is a liaison for OneBlood, Inc. in Miami, Florida and her efforts have resulted in being named a OneBlood “Coordinator of the Year” award winner. For the last eight years, she’s coordinated blood drives at Christopher Columbus High School. For each drive, she registers as many as 120 students and faculty members. When an alumnus asked to host a blood drive at the beginning of the pandemic, Cofresi organized it and held two more drives at the school that collected more than 30 pints of blood at each drive.
- Tim Thompson donates at Blood Assurance in Cartersville, Georgia. Since 2003, he has donated more than 23 gallons of blood and platelets. Thompson was the Blood Drive Coordinator for Chemical Products Company, where he promoted drives to the company’s 110 employees. The company has donated more than 1,600 units and hosted five drives in 2020 despite the pandemic.
- Laurie Brey donates at Versiti Blood Center of Illinois in Grayslake, Illinois. She learned the importance of blood donation at a local community drive. She has made 36 donations and regularly donates four times a year. She began hosting larger blood drives at her church and company, adding a personal touch by educating each donor on the importance of their donation in addition to making sure they have treats.
- Amy Ziegler donates at Vitalant in Denver, Colorado. In 1999 she began hosting blood drives at Dakota Ridge High School, where she teaches physical education. She has arranged for students to donate during the school day, and even hosted a drive during the pandemic. With students learning at home in 2020, Ziegler used social media to share information and created an online sign-up sheet with all the relevant forms, including those for parental consent.
- Jim Abernathy donates at OneBlood, Inc. in Palm Harbor, Florida. Despite not liking needles, he tried donating and found it easy, so between 2012 and March 2017 he has donated 15 times. In April 2017, his 12-year-old son Jackson was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare cancer that is treated with blood transfusions. He began donating more regularly even though he and his son aren’t a match and has donated more than 75 times for a total of more than 20 gallons.
- The Ivory family donates at Community Blood Center in Dayton, Ohio. Mike Ivory, the youngest of 11 children, was proud to be the fourth Ivory sibling to reach 100 lifetime donations in April 2021. His brother 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.
- Wes Wright donates at the American Red Cross’s Asheville Fixed Site in North Carolina. His dad, a hospital administrator, taught him the value of blood donation, and he began donating platelets in 1983 in Winston-Salem. He has been a platelet donor in Asheville since 1992, arriving at the center every other Friday. He recently celebrated his 100th platelet donation.
About the need for blood and blood donation
An estimated 1.9 million people are expected to receive a new cancer diagnosis in 2021. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their treatment. Nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily and nearly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
When donating blood, people give a pint of whole blood, or donate a specific blood component via an automated system. With whole blood, further processing is required to separate the unit into its therapeutic components—typically red blood cells, platelets and plasma. When donating on an automated system, donors typically give the same amount of blood, but more of the component that is in highest demand depending on their donor characteristics and blood type. A total of 30 million blood components are transfused annually in the U.S. To make a blood donation or to learn more about donating blood, please contact your local blood center.
Nominations for 2022 class accepted through June 11, 2022
Fresenius Kabi invites nominations of blood donors or other individuals who have demonstrated a commitment and passion for donating blood or encouraging blood donation. Anyone can submit a nomination and there is no limit to the number of nominations per blood center. A person may only be inducted into the Fresenius Kabi Blood Donation Hall of Fame once.
Nominations for the 2022 Fresenius Kabi Donation Hall of Fame are due by June 11, 2022. Send an email with the story of your most inspiring donor(s) to: email@example.com.
About Fresenius Kabi
Fresenius Kabi (www.fresenius-kabi.com/us) is a global health care company that specializes in medicines and technologies for infusion, transfusion and clinical nutrition. The company’s products and services are used to help care for critically and chronically ill patients. The company’s U.S. headquarters is in Lake Zurich, Illinois. The company’s global headquarters is in Bad Homburg, Germany.