ATL. HIGHLANDS – Just short of 40 units of blood were donated last week at the 18th annual Mark Spatola Memorial Blood Drive held at the St. Agnes Parish Center, which volunteers describe as a “terrific” turnout in view of the most recent Covid-19 fears. For insurance of protection to both donors and volunteers at this year’s program, masks were required.
The Blood drive is the largest in the area, and was started by Kim Spatola to honor the memory of her brother-in-law, Mark who died of leukemia.
Since the onset of the annual event, it has grown in numbers and is now held in memory of Mark Spatola, as well as Joe Hawley and Cletus Abke. Kim Spatola and Loretta Gluckstein, co-chair this annual afternoon and evening event.
“The number of donors who came out this year is exceptional,” said Spatola, “and everyone of them has been just as generous with donations in past years.”
Spatola and Gluckstein also expressed their thanks for the volunteers who made the six-hour event not only professional, but also neighborly and fun. This year, Brian Anderson and Michael Burke provided music and preformed throughout the afternoon. The co-chairs also express thanks to the Rev. Jarlath Quinn, and Councilmen Brian Boms, Roy Dellosso, Lori Hohenleitner, and James Murphy, as well as other local residents who continue to make the event so successful.
The Mark Spatola Drive started small, beginning in the St. Agnes church basement then moving to the Seniors Building, and finally to the Parish Center where it has been able to receive all donors who have either registered in advance or show up sometime during the six hours.
Vitalant, which provides the professional service for the blood drive, mission states; to make a difference in people's lives by bringing together the best people, inspiring individuals to donate blood, producing a safe and ample blood supply, advancing cutting-edge research and embracing continuous quality improvement. Founded in 1943, Vitalant is one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit transfusion medicine organizations with a network of nearly a dozen community blood centers, and internationally known and respected as a leader that continues to advance the experience, practice and application of transfusion medicine. It was a driving force in the creation of America's Blood Centers.
Spatola has already made arrangements for next year’s Blood Drive, which will be held on Aug. 9, 2022.