LAKE ZURICH, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fresenius Kabi announced today it has inducted 13 people and organizations as the 2020 class of the Fresenius Kabi Blood Donation Hall of Fame, a nationwide program that recognizes and shares the unique stories of individuals from across the country who are passionate about and committed to blood donation, by donating themselves, and encouraging others to do so as well.
Every year, Fresenius Kabi partners with 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.
U.S. 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 show an extraordinary dedication to helping others by selflessly donating and volunteering time to ensure this life-saving resource is available to anyone in need, 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 20 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:
- Elaine and Mark Fredricks donate at the American Red Cross Salem Donation Center in Salem, Oregon. With smiles on their faces, they donate platelets every two weeks like clockwork. Elaine, a Certified Nursing Assistant, says she’s paying forward for the 26 units she received after emergency surgery. Together, they have made more than 500 donations.
- Andrew Azan donates at the American Red Cross Northeast Region of Pennsylvania Center in Ashley, Pennsylvania. In addition to being a long-time dedicated donor, Azan has built a growing family of sponsors, donors, and volunteers in his community. He started monthly blood drives in multiple locations and created an annual recognition program for sponsors and donors.
- Wendy Ellis donates at the American Red Cross Portland Donation Center in Portland, Oregon. Ellis continued a long line of dedicated family donation that started with her parents after WWII when she donated after a college professor had an accident and needed blood. Her rare blood type led to her being called on frequently, which she continued during the COVID-19 pandemic. At age 75, she reached her 500th platelet donation in September 2020.
- Michael Otterman donates at Blood Assurance in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Otterman’s connection to donating is deeply personal: his daughter passed away from acute lymphoblastic leukemia before she was two, and he remembered how thankful he was to the donors who gave the bags of blood and platelets she received during her treatments. Otterman continues to give blood and organize blood drives at his company, and those drives have collected 784 units since 2009.
- Marsha Asplin donates at the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in Houston, Texas. Asplin has donated split platelets at least twice a month for 37 years, adding up to 1,375 donations amounting to more than 170 gallons. She is also a Commit for Life volunteer and has dedicated more than 13,000 hours since 2004 to raise awareness about the importance of blood donation.
- Warren Pitcher donates at LifeServe Blood Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Pitcher grew up seeing his father donate regularly and has continued the tradition. He has O-positive blood and steps up to donate whatever is needed – platelets, plasma, double red cells or whole blood – and has given 16 gallons over 100 donations. He also gives back to his community and has been the chairperson for his church’s blood drive for more than 25 years. During this time, he has touched the lives of thousands of hospital patients and spent more than 4,000 hours transporting blood products to hospitals for transfusions, or to laboratories for processing.
- Steven Davidson donates at LifeStream Blood Bank in San Bernardino, California. Davidson was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on his 10th birthday and spent the time in the hospital creating an Instagram account called Steven the Cancer Crusher to raise awareness of those battling cancer. He has become a local superhero and role model who creates awareness campaigns and hosts blood drives, even as his personal health battle continues.
- Rush Roberts donates at OneBlood in St. Petersburg, Florida. Rush, a 14-year veteran firefighter in Hillsborough County, contracted COVID-19 during an emergency call earlier this year. After a 21-day quarantine and emergency room visits battling for his life, he finally tested negative. He immediately asked where he could donate convalescent plasma and became the first donor at his center to gives two rounds of convalescent plasma and schedule his third.
- John Jenkins donates at OneBlood in Lake Park, Florida. Jenkins began donating blood after seeing a commercial on television, and it soon became a passion of his. He’s donated more than 550 times, and through his role as an administrator at the local community college, he champions a mobile blood drive program. The importance of the commitment of blood donors really hit home after his daughter needed a transfusion in 2019.
- Joe McDonald donates at San Diego Blood Bank in San Diego, California. McDonald embodies the values of the Marines – honor, courage and commitment. He donated blood for the first time in 1963 aboard the USS Springfield when a fellow Corps member needed it. He’s a Vietnam veteran and has been present for many historic events, including Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” He plans to reach his lifetime goal of donating 100 gallons of blood within a year.
- Kris Kaveleris donates at Versiti Blood Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Kaveleris became a blood donor to give back after a long recovery from an accident in 1998 that required multiple surgeries. 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. In addition to being a loyal blood donor, Kaveleris has enrolled in Milwaukee Area Technical College’s nursing program and is passionate about spreading the message of donation.
- Sonja “Sunnie” Fenk donates at Vitalant at Parkway Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Fenk began donating platelets three years ago after learning that two close friends were diagnosed with leukemia. She continues to donate every two to three weeks and hosts “platelet parties.” She believes that donating platelets is a way to help cancer patients who are fighting for their lives.
About the need for blood and blood donation
More than 1.8 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2020. 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 2021 class accepted through June 11, 2021
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 2021 Fresenius Kabi Donation Hall of Fame are due by June 11, 2021. 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.