Red Cross, Wes Leonard Heart Team partner to help save lives

June 1, 2017

FENNVILE, Mich. — 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. Leonard passed away unexpectedly in 2011 on the basketball court after making the game-winning shot to send the school’s team to the State Regional playoffs. 


Doctors determined that 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. and over 350,000 people will suffer from sudden cardiac arrest this year. 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 6th annual Wes Leonard Memorial Blood Drive will be held Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at Fennville Middle School (1 Memorial Drive).


The Red Cross and the Wes Leonard Heart Team will also present a new AED to Black River Public Schools in Holland. A school representative will receive the lifesaving device during a special noon presentation.


All eligible donors are encouraged to download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment. Everyone who comes to donate will receive a free, commemorative “In Honor of Wes Leonard” T-shirt, while supplies last.


Media Note: The following link is from the February 2012 Sports Illustrated story on Wes Leonard by Thomas Lake:


How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.


Blood donors can now save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit and follow the instructions on the site.


About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.