Blood Drive Donors Become Bone Marrow Donors

By Sarah Thomsen – bio | email – WBAY – click HERE for video of story.

Hundreds of people rolled up their sleeves and donated blood at the Packers training camp blood drive Wednesday. Many of them also became bone marrow donors at the same time.

Mary Homel and Phil Enderby don’t know each other but Wednesday they had one thing in common: They both signed up to save a life.

“It just seemed like something that was easy to do and could possibly go a long way for someone else,” Enderby said.

With just the swab of a cheek, both officially became bone marrow donors.

“Because I have family member that have cancer and I have a couple relatives that  died of cancer,” Homel said, “so I figure it’s for a good cause, and if anybody else  needs it, I’m there.”

It was the first time in our area the American Red Cross held a bone marrow registration drive in conjunction with a blood drive.

It’s teaming up with the non-profit DKMS Americas to add donors to the National Bone Marrow Registry.

“We’ve had volunteers trained to talk to people about who you benefit, leukemia patients and people with other blood diseases. So it just  seems like a fitting pair to do both today,” Bobbi Snethen, Red Cross communications program manager, said.

A big push to become a donor started when Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts announced she needed a bone marrow transplant.

Action 2 News has also profiled two children in our area, Mira Erdmann and Charlie Knuth, who each needed life-saving bone marrow transplants.

The idea for this drive started with a passionate family.

“We actually encountered a mother who is a huge advocate, and her son had passed away from leukemia and she was talking about the need to get people on the registry,” Snethen said.

Since it’s the first time, the Red Cross doesn’t know what to expect but says it was pleased with the steady line of people becoming donors.

“I think it’s important to give back, and it’s something I feel like a lot of people could do, and now I’m one of those people,” Enderby said.

Red Cross Volunteers Looking for Relief

By Sarah Thomsen, WBAY – Click HERE for video of story:

As the recent storms continue to pelt Northeast Wisconsin, it’s putting a strain on a group of volunteers that’s always there as soon as the severe weather passes.

Since June 15th we’ve seen flooding from Fond du Lac to Black Creek to Green Bay and wind damage and hail from Crivitz to Appleton.

And after each of these storms, American Red Cross volunteers were called to action.

“In the past two weeks we’ve had 70 volunteers that participated in helping people in need,” Steve Maricque, executive director of the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter said.

Volunteers don’t abandon one area when severe weather hits somewhere else.

There were still crews in Wittenberg Wednesday after Tuesday’s damaging winds, and the flooding problems in Black Creek and the Fox Valley haven’t disappeared, either.

All these storms are stretching volunteers thin.

“It is a strain on them because of the amount of time and effort that goes into it, so we’re always looking for good people that want to help, that want to be trained,” Maricque said.

Not only does the local Red Cross chapter need volunteers, it also needs donations to help replenish the supplies they’re going through so quickly.

“We provide a mop, broom, a squeegee to move water around.”

With flooding the biggest problem this summer, volunteers are going through a lot of clean-up kits.

“Just in the last two weeks we’ve gone through 128 clean-up kits, so we’ve got additional supplies that are ready in anticipation of rain that’s going to be coming again tomorrow.”