Community blood drive dedicated to frontline heroes, supported by university volunteer networks

promotional image for blood drive showing masked health care worker with cape
The Versiti Blood Center drive will be held Thursday, June 4, from noon-7 p.m. at the David D. Hunting YMCA, 475 Lake Michigan Dr NW.
Image credit - courtesy photo

President Philomena V. Mantella and other faculty and staff members are expected to attend and participate in a blood drive designed to thank area hospital heroes.

The Versiti Blood Center drive will be held Thursday, June 4, from noon-7 p.m. at the David D. Hunting YMCA, 475 Lake Michigan Dr NW.

• Appointments can be scheduled by calling (866) 642-5663 or made online at Appointments are strongly encouraged; because of COVID-19 safety precautions, walk-ins could experience wait times.

Two subgroups from Grand Valley's Networks of Support have promoted the blood drive and asked volunteers to do the same.

Chris Barbee, director of Alumni Relations, chairs the Laker Networks subgroup. Barbee said he has seen good response to social media posts, branded Lakers Helping Lakers, about calls to action like the blood drive.

"It’s very satisfying when there is a connection that can be made between those in the Laker community,” Barbee said. “During this time of uncertainty, Lakers want to find ways to help their communities.”

Participants in Thursday's Health Care Heroes Community Tribute blood drive are asked to bring thank you cards to frontline hospital workers at Spectrum Health, Metro Health-University of Michigan Health and Mercy Health Saint Mary's.

Andrew Bixel, director of endowed and planned giving, and Tina Barnikow, senior director of health, are co-chairs of the Hospital and Medical Care Professionals subgroup. They connected with hospital leaders about what their employees need and will create a website with information on where to send cards, online activities for young children and other resources hospital workers requested.

Like others involved in the Networks of Support, Bixel said he is pleased to support and encourage frontline workers on behalf of the university.

"I have had the pleasure of working with our nursing and health professions alumni, faculty and staff, and community members for many years and have seen the impact they are having on our community and country," Bixel said. "We have incredible health care professionals caring for us and our families and I am happy to support them during this time."

The Networks of Support are tied to Mantella's Reach Higher Together initiative. 



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