ENGLEWOOD, Ohio – The second annual Bill Davenport Memorial Blood Drive was just underway at the Englewood Government Center Wednesday, July 31 and Bill’s son Brett was already talking about next year. He proudly wore a t-shirt with a design inspired by the badge his dad wore as an Englewood cop for 38 years. The badge features a heart and a blood drop. “This year we made them for family,” he said. “Maybe next year we can make enough for everyone.”
With Brett, coordinator of the blood drive, it’s never just talk. Ideas that he, his brother Cory and mom Joann discussed after the first Community Blood Center (CBC) blood drive in Bill’s name (on his July 31 birthday last year) have come true. They worked hard spreading the word about the drive and found new ways to encourage more people to sign up.
Their hard work resulted in 20 percent bigger blood drive than last year. The 2013 Bill Davenport Memorial Blood Drive had 70 registrations, including eight first-time donors, and 60 donations for 136 percent of the collection goal.
“This year we really reached out to local businesses to see if they were willing to help to help out with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,” said Brett. Wednesday’s blood drive again had a 50/50 raffle to raise funds for LLS. New this year was a second raffle for the grand prize of a recliner donated by Gallery Home Furnishings, plus 20 other door prizes sponsored by area businesses. “It not only benefits LLS, it’s another way to draw people in to donate for a chance to cure somebody.”
Bill Davenport was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow, and lost his 10-year battle with the blood cancer in 2011. His treatment included many blood transfusions and bone marrow procedures. “The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was extremely helpful to us when my dad was sick,” said Cory Davenport as he donated at the blood drive. “It means a lot to us to be able to give back and do something helpful.”
Chris Strehle, who works with Cory at Sound Financial Solutions in Vandalia, remembers that time. “Cory was young and had just started with us,” he said. “He said he wanted to work but we told him, ‘Go home and be with your dad.’” Chris donated at the first Bill Davenport blood drive and made his 20th lifetime donation at this year’s blood drive.
Brett followed his dad into public safety work, serving first as an Englewood firefighter and later with the Xenia Fire Department. Since last year’s memorial blood drive Brett has joined the Kettering Fire Department. “I really enjoyed the guys there,” Brett said about his years in Xenia. “Some are coming out again to donate.”
In fact, word about the blood drive has traveled – “like fire” – among area fire departments. Trotwood firefighter Seth Haley went to high school with Cory and both he and his wife Ashley came to donate. (Seth entered the drawing and was the winner of the grand prize recliner). Mike Holbert was a fellow firefighter with Brett in Englewood and are now working together again in Kettering. His wife Shaunna and three-month old daughter Molly came along as Mike donated.
There were also donors like Katie Wood from Englewood who serves as City of Union firefighter. She didn’t know the Davenport family, but their cause is close to her heart. “I heard about it through my fire chief,” she said as she donated. “When my grandma was dying she had several blood transfusions. I feel like I wanted to give back to someone else.”