By: Mark Buciak, Volunteer Blood Drive Director
What started 20 years ago as a small neighborhood blood drive has become the largest single day blood drive in all of Chicagoland helping save thousands of lives throughout the country.
As we celebrate 20 years of sharing God’s give of life with those most in need, let’s look back on positive impact of this wonderful event and how it all started.
My father, John passed away in November 1996. It was one of the saddest periods of my life. He was a loving and caring father, teaching me how ride a bike, taking me to baseball games, coming to cheer me on at my races including the Boston Marathon and the Redwoods Forest Marathon.
His endless stories about being on a aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean during WWII were amazing. He showed and taught me how to grow fresh veggies in this backyard garden and beautiful roses which we would cut and give to my mother. But what I remember most about my father is his love and caring not only for his family but for everyone.
What better way to honor him than to start a blood drive in his name, but more importantly to continue his loving and caring for others. The first blood drive netted about 20 pints. Now we regularly collect over 100 pints and have hit a record of 161 pints. There are few organizations that have surpassed the 1,000 pint point. Our 20 year total is over 1,100 pints of blood.
Some people think blood drives are boring or not so important. But once someone’s friend or family needs blood, suddenly a blood drive is extremely important.
Fortunately, our donors, members, volunteers and supporters already know the important the of a blood drive.
We have been blessed over the last 20 years with extremely dedicated donors. At first our donors were mostly or entirely members of OSP. Now our donors come from as far Wisconsin and in Ken Smith’s case who is not a member of OSP), he takes the CTA red line from the far South side to donate with us each year. Long time member of OSP, Paul Sauer holds our record as being the oldest donor at 83 years young!
We are equally blessed by our loyal volunteers. Some wake up as early as 5:30pm on a Sunday morning and arrive with a warm friendly smile on their faces so our donors feel welcome and comfortable. A fine example is Georgaiann Melchiorre. She has been a volunteer at every blood drive for the last 12 years.
The operations of our blood drive is performed by the American Red Cross. They are the nation’s largest blood bank and a non-profit organization. Their caring professionals take extremely good care of each and everyone of our donors.
We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful partnership with them. Our thanks to the following for donations of goods and services for our donor appreciation raffle:
PIECE on North Ave, REI, Tresure Island, Keihl’s, Trader Joe’s and Formula Fitness Clubs.
The impact of a successful blood drive is so important. It simply saves lives. Each pint, it can be used to save 3 lives.
This is a miracle.
Giving blood is living Christ’s teaching in our everyday world. Quietly and uneventfully giving life to a stranger, someone who you will never know and never meet. Someone who will never thank you directly.
Please join us on Sunday, November 13th for our annual blood drive. We are looking for donors. Donors, we ask you to make an appointment at: www.redcrossblood.org. We are especially looking for early birds between 7 am and 8:00am. Please remember to bring your photo ID.
We are also looking for hospitality greeters. If you are interested in volunteering for an hour or two before or after attending Mass, Please e-mail me at:
My father told me on many occasions…
“Be thankful to God for the gifts He has given you but don’t keep them to yourself.
To make them really special, share them with others who need them.”
My father’s words could not be more true. Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday, November 13th in the FXW gym.
Please bring a friend. Two pints are better than one! May God bless you and looking forward to the next 20 years and another 1000 pints.