Superheroes Save Lives
Superman, Spiderman and Batman are just
some of the superheroes that descended upon Orlando during MegaCon
The event drew tens of thousands of comic book fans who wanted to
catch a glimpse of these caped crusaders in action. However, many
MegaCon patrons decided to take their love of superheroes to the
next level by becoming a real superhero through blood donation.
One by one, the beloved comic book characters rolled up their
sleeves and gave the gift of life.
Josh Barker was decked out as a beaten up Brock Samson. Though he
said he wasn’t currently in need of a blood transfusion, he’ll
probably need one sometime in the future and when he does, he may
receive blood from donors like Leslie Davidson.
Davidson donated blood for the first time while she was dressed as
Captain America. She says, “It really helps bring out the superhero
in you because you’re out helping people. You’re not out jumping
from buildings or anything like that, but you’re helping someone in
some way. They might not know it, but you’re helping.”
Together Florida’s Blood Centers and the superheroes helped save
more than 400 lives at MegaCon 2012.
6 Saving Lives
Every day thousands of Central Floridians
turn to WKMG, Local 6 to find out what’s happening in the
community. Now we are giving you the opportunity to save
local lives with Local 6.
Donating blood is very important to many members of the WKMG News
Team. Anchor Erik Von Ancken says, “Every time I go out on a
story and there’s just some sort of awful accident… some of the
worst tragedies and you know that what could save their life first
and foremost is blood...and if it’s not on the shelf….there’s
nothing the best doctor in the world can do.”
Von Ancken has O-negative blood, which means he is a
universal blood donor and his blood can go to anyone in need.
There’s always a constant need for O-negative blood because it is
often given to trauma patients and accident victims before their
blood type can be determined.
Anchor Lauren Rowe has had the honors of introducing two blood
recipients to the people that literally gave them the gift of
life. Rowe hosted the 2009 and 2010 multi-gallon donors
luncheons in Orlando and stood on stage as blood donors got the
opportunity to come face to face with a life they saved.
Rowe says, “It’s really important that we all make a
commitment to keep this blood bank full-no matter what type of
blood you have because you never know when someone might need you
and you never know when you might need blood.”
Save local lives with Local 6 on February 18 at the Seminole Towne
Center Mall from 11am-5pm.
Political pundits Dick Batchelor and Tico
Perez are known for not always getting along, but these two Central
Florida icons are joining forces to lobby blood donors.
On May second Batchelor and Perez will host the Central Florida
Heroes Blood Drive from 7am-7pm in front of the Orlando Chamber of
Perez says, “Teaming up with Dick is somewhat difficult at times.
He’s wrong about many things, but he’s right about this. He’s right
about the effort that we are doing together to save lives in this
Batchelor says, “We’re going to give red blood and blue blood, but
we need the community to help us meet a big goal. We can’t do it on
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and
Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney are all getting on the Big Red Bus
May 2 and bringing their friends, family and colleagues with
Regardless of whether you donate on the right like Perez or on the
left like Batchelor, everyone can be a Central Florida Hero by
getting on the Big Red Bus May 2.
Learn More & Book an Appointment
Students Save Lives
One year ago today Boone High School
students were forced to grow up instantly after a fatal car
accident claimed the lives of Boone graduate Eddie Culberhouse and
Boone Senior Laura Grant. Two other students, Alisa Pelot and
Elizabeth Harrison were seriously injured in the crash.
A year later, the Boone High School family honored Eddie and Laura
by giving the gift of life through blood donation. These students
saw first-hand how blood from donors can impact a patient’s life
when Alisa was in the hospital. Thanks to blood from donors Alisa
was able to recover from her injuries and graduate high school with
A steady stream of students filed onto Big Red Buses and roll up
their sleeves. Many students gave blood for the first time and say
Eddie and Laura inspired them to do something positive in the
Student Yazmin Ramos dressed in a blood drop suit to draw attention
to the blood drive. She says, “It’s sad because like you miss the
person and you want them to come back and be here, but it still
feels good to know she wasn’t forgotten and you can look back on
the memories and times with her and look back and just be
In addition to saving lives through blood donation, the students
try to save lives by encouraging everyone to wear their seatbelt.
The “Always Wear Your Seatbelt” club was formed shortly after the
accident and quickly became one of the most popular clubs at Boone
High School. In fact, many businesses surrounding Boone changed
their marquees on February 6 to say, “Wear your seatbelt in honor
of Eddie and Laura”.
Together Florida’s Blood Centers and Boone High School students
helped save nearly 600 lives in honor of Eddie Culberhouse and
It’s impossible to say how many millions of
people would have lost their lives if it weren’t for Dr. Charles
Drew. He revolutionized the blood banking industry and is
responsible for discovering and developing many blood banking
techniques that are still used today.
He was one of the pioneers that basically discovered that you could
remove the plasma, the liquid portion of the blood and actually
freeze dry plasma and store those proteins for prolonged periods of
time and really it was a breakthrough technology in being able to
provide some type of a transfusion support team during war
Before this discovery, red blood cells could not be stored for more
than a couple of days because of the rapid break down of red blood
Dr. Drew established the first blood bank in England as well as a
blood bank at Columbia University in New York. He also organized a
system of volunteer blood donors and centralized the collection of
donated blood where he processed the blood and separated out the
Dr. Drew’s life was cut short on April 1, 1950 when he was involved
in a car accident that left him in need of blood.
Dr. Drew passed away while working to save lives.
Sisters Sandy Belflower and Karen
Lanier share a passion for blood donation. Karen was the first
sister to begin donating blood and she inspired Sandy to do the
same. The sister often joke about how this is the one thing Sandy
can do better than Karen. Karen’s given more than 55 gallons over
the years, but Sandy just donated her 100th
Sandy began donating blood back in 1979 because her friend’s mother
was in a car accident and needed a transfusion. Sandy realized the
need for blood and continued donating for other patients in the
hospital. She gave nine gallons before becoming a platelet donor.
Once she learned that platelets only have a shelf life of five days
and that they are needed by cancer patients she not only became a
platelet donor, but a triple platelet donor.
Sandy says she feels good when she’s donating platelets. She knows
she’s helping patients in need and she says she feels energized
after the donation.
Sandy is only the second woman on record at Florida’s Blood Centers
to give 100 gallons. So far, she’s helped approximately 2,400
patients and she has no intention of slowing down any time
With his bright blonde hair and piercing
blue eyes, little Blake Brandt holds the key to his parents hearts.
That’s why they were devastated when doctors diagnosed their
precious little boy with leukemia just days after his first
Blake’s father Daniel said, “It was pretty surreal…how could this
happen? What did we do wrong? You know…what could we do? Pretty
much why did this happen? Then we found out that there’s nothing we
could have done.”
Blake’s parents thought he may have had a rash because they noticed
red dots on the back of Blake’s legs and mentioned it at his
one-year check up. It turns out those red dots were pitikia and
Blake needed an immediate blood transfusion.
Blake began intensive chemotherapy and received multiple blood and
platelet transfusions since he started treatment. Now, his parents
are advocates for blood donation and they are hosting a blood drive
in Blake’s honor at the Beef O’Brady’s in Deltona on February 4
from noon to 6pm.
Book an appointment.
Blake is technically in remission now, but he has a long road ahead
of him. Thanks to blood donors Blake has the best shot possible at
beating this disease.
Fans Save Lives
Ladies and gentlemen….start your engines!
With those famous words the Daytona International Speedway roars to
life as Preseason Thunder Fan Fest gets under way.
Preseason Thunder Fan Fest is a chance for NASCAR fans to watch
their favorite drivers practice for the 2012 Daytona 500. It
also gives NASCAR fans a chance to save lives through blood
Big Red Buses are the vehicle of choice outside turn tunnel four
and blood donors are the ones in the driver’s seat on the road to
For the ninth year in a row, Florida’s Blood Centers teamed up with
the Daytona International Speedway for the annual Preseason Thunder
Fan Fest Blood Drive.
Donor Carol Pagano says, “It’s very exciting to see all the people
out here and hear the race cars. It’s exciting. Very
Those donating on the Big Red Bus agreed with Pagano. They all said
it was pretty unique to be giving the gift of life while hearing
their favorite drivers race around the track just a few feet
Together Florida’s Blood Centers and the Daytona International
Speedway helped save hundreds of lives during the 2012 Daytona
Preseason Thunder Fan Fest.
Mike Myers loves taking care of his
granddaughters and watching them grow up. This retiree spent years
working for an airline before joining Florida’s Blood Centers as a
recruiter. As a recruiter Mike practiced what he preached. He
wanted to give at least 30 gallons of blood, but when he was just a
gallon shy of that goal he got sick during a company awards
ceremony. He looked pale and began sweating profusely, so his
co-workers insisted he go to the hospital.
After undergoing a battery of tests Myers learned that he had two
blocked arteries and needed triple bypass surgery. Shortly after
that operation Myers went from being a blood donor to a blood
Myers was on the road to recovery and was starting to get back into
the swing of things when illness struck again.
He said, “I woke up in the middle of the night about 2:30 in the
morning…heart pounding out of my chest, difficulty breathing, so I
went to the hospital because we thought it was my heart again and
it wasn’t…I was in the hospital for 11 days and they did a bunch of
tests and that’s when we found out that I had pulmonary
Pulmonary fibrosis is scarring or thickening of the lungs and
most patients are only given about two to five years to live.
Myers says he takes it day by day relying on his faith to get him
Myers received blood for a second time in the Fall of 2011 after
learning he had lost 30% of the blood in his body.
He says, “I felt like I was 20 years old again, so I got a total of
four units and thank God, if I hadn’t had those units of blood I
don’t think I’d be here today.”
That’s why Myers encourages everyone to get out and donate
A blood drive will be held on Sunday, January 8, 2012 at Center
Point Church in Palm Bay from 8am-1pm in honor of Myers.
Book an appointment
Doctor Celebrates Birthday By Giving Gift of Life
For the seventh year in a row Dr.
Charles Gard of Palm Beach, Fl celebrated his birthday by giving
the gift of life. The 86-year-old even brought about 40 of his
closest friends to Florida’s Blood Centers Lake Park Branch to take
part in the festivities while giving back to the community.
Donating blood in honor of Dr. Gard’s birthday does have its perks.
Though it’s his birthday, Dr. Gard is the one handing out the
presents. In addition to giving the gift of life, he gives each
person who donates blood at his “birthday party” a free office
Dr. Gard says he donates blood because he knows he is saving lives
and this is his way of giving back. Dr. Gard also enjoys the free
mini-physical that comes along with giving blood. Dr. Gard has
given more than 50 gallons of blood and has no intention of slowing
down any time soon.