Annual Gail Singer Memorial Blood Drive aims for 1,500 pints
08/17/2012 The American Red Cross will hold their annual Gail Singer Memorial Blood Drive on Tuesday, August 28. Shown, from left, are Collection Specialist Alicia Higaonna, Account Manager Acrolyn McNamara, Administrative Assistant Maureen Butler and Collection Manager Ana Trahnstrom. (Josh Gibney/Union Leader)
The drive brought in 1,959 pints last year, the highest volume for a one-day drive in the history of the American Red Cross. More than 2,300 potential donors offered to contribute in the 28th annual Gail Singer Memorial Blood Drive, which was held Aug. 30, 2011, on a very busy Tuesday at the downtown Radisson Hotel and Expo Center.
The dates for this year's drive are Aug. 28-29 at the Radisson and the goal for 2012 is 1,500 pints, Chairman Stephen Singer said.
“We're hoping to exceed our expectations. If we do so, that will be another winning year for the America Red Cross and the Gail Singer Memorial Blood Drive,” he said.
Every pint of blood can be divided into red cells, platelets and plasma, potentially helping three different patients. If the drive can collect 1,500 usable pints, up to 4,500 people could benefit from this year's drive.
Singer estimated the annual event has helped tens of thousands of people since the family set up the first drive as a way to honor the memory of Gail Singer, Stephen's sister-in-law who died of leukemia in 1984 at age 29.
“We've seen it grow from a small, modest family event when we struggled to get 100 donors to last year with over 2,200 people walking through the door,” he said.
Singer said the family went for the record a year ago because he wanted to give his home state some national recognition, showing how the residents of a state small in size can outdo larger communities in the name of helping others. The previous record was 1,835 pints, collected during an event hosted by the St. Louis Cardinals and the University of Missouri.
The Gail Singer Drive outdid the record by 124 pints, but the amount of preparation and logistics involved was exhausting for Singer, who was named citizen of the year by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce in April.
Singer said he even needed to do some fundraising before the 2011 drive to help cover the expenses of bringing in help from other states in order to process every potential donor in just one day.
“It was just a monumental undertaking,” he said. “Even though it was a labor of love, it created a lot of pressure.”
Gail Singer was the wife of Stephen's brother, Gary. The Singer family owns Merchants Automotive Group in Hooksett and established the annual blood drive as a regular event.
“We've been blessed in a lot of ways. We're happy to share our blessings with our community,” he said.
Through the years, Singer has picked up different ways of tapping into people's desire to help. Donor appreciation bags have become a staple over the last 15 years and expanded much like the drive itself.
Singer said this year donors can expect vouchers to events like the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Manchester Monarchs and New Hampshire Motor Speedway as well as to Six Flags New England, a new addition.
The Radisson will host this year's drive again, taking donors next Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but Singer encourages people to register for a specific time slot to avoid having to wait.
For more information: http://gailsingermemorial.org or redcrossblood.org (sponsor code 3491).
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