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Manhattan Blood Drive Honors Kevin Coffey

Central Plains Blood Services Region

November 17, 2010
 

Media Contact:Kristi Ingalls- Cell: (316) 641-3972

E-Contact Info: ingallsk@usa.redcross.org

Websites:www.redcrossblood.org

 

Manhattan Blood Drive Honors Kevin Coffey 

Manhattan, Kan.—Nov. 16, 2010Two months may have passed since Kevin Coffey passed away, but his memory lives on in a pair of blood drives to be held more than a thousand miles apart.

The American Red Cross will hold “Keep the Drive Alive” in Manhattan Nov. 18-19 in memory of Coffey, a 2009 Manhattan High School graduate. He was killed in a Sept. 11 bus crash in Salina, N.Y., while traveling to Toronto, Canada.

Coffey, a sophomore honors student at Temple University in Philadelphia at the time of his death, had been a two-year captain of the Manhattan Junior Crew rowing team, an Eagle Scout with local Boy Scout Troop 74, and a member of the Manhattan High School chapters of AFS and Business Professionals of America. At his Sept. 17 memorial service, classmates from Manhattan and across the country spoke lovingly of Coffey as a dearly missed friend who was kind, funny, and planned to travel the world after completing a degree in international business.

One cause that was of special importance to him was blood donation. Having a rare blood type himself (O negative), Coffey was a frequent donor who had given more than a gallon of blood in Manhattan and Philadelphia, and encouraged his friends and family to do the same. Temple University friends and faculty members have organized a second blood drive in memory of Coffey to be held Nov. 24 on the Philadelphia campus.

“Kevin was committed to donating blood,” said his father, Ray Coffey. “It is only fitting that we sponsor a blood drive in his honor and memory."

The Manhattan blood drive will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18, and from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 2900 Kimball Ave. Appointments are not required but are recommended, and scheduling an appointment will ensure the quickest possible process. Walk-in donors also are welcome.

To make an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED-CROSS. (If calling by cell phone, just leave off the final “S” in the telephone number.)

Those who come to donate blood will receive a “Keep the Drive Alive” t-shirt encouraging blood donation in Coffey’s memory. “Each shirt will also include a special hang-tag that tells donors about Kevin,” said Terri Dunaway, CEO of the American Red Cross – Central Plains Region.  “I hope this encourages more people to be like him. Each time a person donates blood, it helps save up to three lives. Throughout his short time as a Red Cross blood donor, Kevin may have helped save up to 30 lives.”

Donors with all blood types are needed, but especially those with the O negative that was Coffey’s blood type. Red Cross officials say O negative donors can make the difference between an adequate blood supply and a shortage. That’s because type O negative blood can be transfused to patients with any blood type, and is most readily given to patients in emergency and trauma situations and to infants.

It is not necessary to know one’s blood type to donate. To give blood, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in general good health. Sixteen-year-olds may donate blood provided they bring an original parental consent form to the blood drive. The consent form can be found at www.DonateBloodNow.org/16. A blood donor card, driver’s license, or two other forms of ID are required at check-in.

Coffey’s friends and family hope that both the Manhattan and Philadelphia blood drives will help keep his memory alive in a very tangible way: by encouraging others to donate blood, a commitment he would have continued throughout a life cut tragically short on Sept. 11.

“Kevin had an uncommon blood type and felt a responsibility to give blood every time he was eligible. It was rare that he would have missed an opportunity to donate,” said his mother, Maxine Coffey.  “He was an exceptional young man who lived his life to the fullest.

“We have been told that only 3 people out of every 100 who are eligible to donate blood actually do so. Our hope for both of these initial drives is that people who have not given blood will be inspired to donate as they are able, and that both new and committed donors will continue to give blood in the future, whenever they can.”

How to Donate Blood:Call 1-800-RED CROSS or log on to redcrossblood.org for more information or to schedule a blood donation appointment. All blood types are needed to ensure the Red Cross maintains an adequate blood supply. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Donors must be in general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old (16 with completed Parental Consent Form). New height and weight restrictions apply to donors younger than 19. Visit redcrossblood.org to learn more.

About the American Red Cross:The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.