A tragedy for one family has turned into a blood drive that could help countless people.
Mike Wilder passed away suddenly in the spring. His wife, Donna, works at State Farm, so her co-workers decided to do something special to honor Mike.
“He was a really big blood donor ... and he would donate anytime they would call,” said Karey Stewart, marketing assistant for State Farm. “So in lieu of flowers at the funeral, we could do something to honor him, so let’s do a blood drive.”
Stewart contacted the Marsh Regional Blood Center to see if setting up a blood drive was possible and what dates would be available.
Employees at the blood center told her she needed to get 25 signatures in order for the bloodmobile to come to the parking lot. People at Marsh remembered Mike, so they were receptive to the idea, Stewart said.
The plan is to have the bloodmobile set up in the parking lot of State Farm, 3616 Netherland Inn Road, Suite 1, on July 3. People would be able to donate blood from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For Stewart, this will be the first time she has donated blood, and she’s a little nervous.
“Normally, I’m very skeptical of needles,” Stewart said. “Because it’s for Mike, I’m going to put on my big girl pants and donate, I guess.”
Once Stewart contacted Marsh, the process moved fairly quickly. She wanted a month of advance notice so the company could advertise for the blood drive.
Stewart thinks the drive will be successful because Mike had a lot of friends and was known in the community.
She said he graduated from Sullivan North and was big into Facebook.
When they told Donna about the blood drive, she cried and thanked them for doing something so special for Mike. She’s onboard with the blood drive and is excited to see how many people come out to give blood, Stewart said.
A number of companies State Farm is working with have already agreed to come out. People from rental car services, collision repair shops and some service companies have already agreed to come and give.
To commemorate the event, Stewart is having special T-shirts made up. The shirts will say, ‘We gave our blood to show our love,’ on the front and a picture of Mike on the back.
Stewart said one pint of blood could save three lives, and she hopes to see a good turnout from the community.
Most of all, she hopes Donna knows how important Mike was to them and that they are there to help her in any way she needs.
“We just want to show her that all of us care and that we are there for her,” Stewart said. “Even though he’s not here with us, it’s something he would have enjoyed and something he would have done, and it’s something we can all do together.”