Red Cross, Heart Team Partner for 2nd Annual "Never Forgotten--Wes Leonard Memorial Blood Drive"

May 20, 2013


Lansing, MI—May 20—The American Red Cross is proud to once again partner with The Heart Team and the community of Fennville to honor Fennville High School senior Wes Leonard, who passed away unexpectedly on the basketball court after making the game-winning shot to send the school’s team to the State Regional playoffs. 


Doctors determined that Wes Leonard suffered from arrythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.  When he collapsed on March 3, 2011, there was a defibrillator about 50 feet from the gymnasium, but it didn’t have a working battery. Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Over 350,000 people will suffer from sudden cardiac arrest this year . It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and at any age. An automated external defibrillator, or AED is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest and is an easy to operate tool for someone with no medical background.


To honor Wes and to educate the public about the importance of AEDs—The 2nd Annual “Never Forgotten—Wes Leonard Memorial Blood Drive” will be held Friday, May 31st from 12PM – 7:45PM, at the Fennville Community Athletic Center (5 Memorial Drive).  This very special blood drive will include AED demonstrations, Be the Match bone marrow and Gift of Life organ donor registries, CPR demonstrations and blood typing from the Red Cross Chapter Services, and assistance with the installation of Red Cross and Heart smart phone applications. 


All eligible donors are encouraged to call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit to make an appointment to help save lives.  Everyone who turns out to donate will receive a “Never Forgotten—Wes Leonard” t-shirt.


Local, regional and national media representatives are invited to a special press conference at 11AM on May 31 at the Fennville Community Athletic Center.  Scheduled speakers include Fennville Mayor Dan Rastall, American Red Cross CEO Jim Flickema, and Maria Flores from The Wes Leonard Heart Team.  In addition, members of the Leonard family will also be in attendance.  A question and answer session will follow.


Media Note:  The following link is from the Sports Illustrated story on Wes Leonard by Thomas Lake which was included in the February 2012 issue.



About the American Red Cross

The Great Lakes Blood Services Region serves 65 counties, and needs to collect about 650 units of blood a day to meet patient need in hospitals. In addition to supplying about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, the American Red Cross 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. 04/13AP155