Wilmette is home to a number of interesting trivia: the “Home Alone” church is here, Bill Murray (and his siblings) grew up here, famous photographer Vivian Meier capture many images here.
This one you almost certainly don’t know: The biggest American Red Cross blood drive in Chicagoland (possibly within the state) is held in Wilmette.
A whole bunch of participants are already signed up for the ninth annual Super Sunday Blood Drive scheduled from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11, at St. Francis Xavier, 808 Linden Ave. in honor of Kevin Joseph Smith Burke.
Jeff Later, who founded the drive, said greater than 350 people have registered and he expects greater than 400 to donate blood through the Super Bowl Sunday event, as organizers attempt to fill 450 available appointments.
Later and company welcomed about three dozen donors the primary yr of the blood drive eight years ago. The even then grew but it surely took on recent life in 2017, when Later connected with Kathryn Smith to dedicate the drive in honor of her son, Kevin Joseph Smith Burke, who died earlier that yr.
Kevin graduated in 2008 from St. Francis Xavier and in 2012 from Latest Trier High School, where he was a rower and a swimmer. He was a Loyola University student when he died in Chicago on the age of 23.
Kevin Joseph Smith Burke during his days at Latest Trier High School.
Kathryn Smith has gotten more involved since then and has helped turn the event into way more than a blood drive.
“It’s an incredibly emotional day for me after I’m there,” she said. “So many individuals come to honor him and our family. … It’s just really heartwarming.
“It’s great to know that every pint of blood can save up to 3 lives. It’s really wonderful we are able to honor him in that way.”
While organizers like Later and Smith hope for 400-plus donors, definitely greater than that shall be within the SFX gymnasium to benefit from the community affair, which also features a potluck of chilis, soups, sandwiches and more. Even the Girl Scouts come out — with their cookies after all.
The drive is particularly necessary this yr. A number of weeks ago, on Jan. 8, the American Red Cross issued an alert saying that it’s experiencing the bottom variety of blood donations in 20 years, and the variety of blood donors reportedly has dropped 40 percent in 20 years.
“Small changes in blood donor turnout can have a huge effect on the supply of blood products and dramatic consequences for those in need of an emergency blood transfusion,” said Dr. Eric Gehrie, executive physician director for the Red Cross, within the statement. “More challenges may lie ahead because the potential for severe winter weather and seasonal illness may compound the dire blood supply situation.
“Donors of every type — especially those with type O blood and people giving platelets — are urged to offer now.”
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