Fenwal Names 2009 Inductees to the Blood Donation Hall of Fame

Recognizing the altruistic spirit of blood donors during National Blood Donor Month

Jan 07, 2010, 10:24 ET from Fenwal, Inc.

LAKE ZURICH, Ill., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- While the holidays are largely over, the spirit of giving continues thanks to a very special group of people - regular blood donors. Fenwal, Inc., a global medical technology company focused on improving blood collection, separation, safety and availability, announced today the names of 12 inspiring individuals inducted into the company's 2009 Donation Hall of Fame.

For more than a decade, Fenwal has partnered with blood centers to recognize people who go above and beyond in assuring medicine's most vital natural resource -- blood -- is available for trauma victims, people undergoing critical surgeries and patients receiving therapies for cancer, leukemia and other medical conditions. Inductees are chosen based on their commitment to blood donation, whether by directly giving blood or by organizing drives and special events that recruit blood donors. Each inductee's story is a testament to the selfless spirit of those who give blood.

Nearly 40,000 units of blood are needed every day throughout the United States. Since there is no substitute for human blood, hospitals and patients rely on volunteer blood donors for blood transfusions. During January, National Blood Donor Month raises awareness of the need for volunteer blood donors, like those celebrated through Fenwal's Donation Hall of Fame, and the critical role they serve in patient care.

"Because of blood donors, millions of lives are saved each year," said Ron Labrum, president and chief executive officer of Fenwal. "Our hope is that these individual's selfless acts of kindness serve as an inspiration and reminder to all of us of the tremendous gift of a blood donation. It is our honor to recognize and celebrate these amazing individuals through the Donation Hall of Fame, and to encourage others to follow in their footsteps."

The 2009 inductees are:

  • Robert Brocato, nominated by American Red Cross, Portland, Maine.
  • Ed Harry, nominated by American Red Cross, Northeastern Pennsylvania Region
  • Gene Hink, nominated by Florida Blood Services, Tampa, Fla.
  • Hugh Hondorp, nominated by his daughter, Stephanie Hondorp, East Windsor, N.J.
  • John Kopitz, nominated by New Jersey Blood Services, A Division of New York Blood Center, Montclair N.J.
  • John and Mary Murphy, nominated by American Red Cross, Omaha, Neb.
  • Joyce O'Hern, nominated by LifeShare Blood Centers, Shreveport, La.
  • Richard Packman, nominated by LifeSource Chicagoland's Blood Center, Chicago, Ill.
  • Roy Perry, nominated by North Country Regional Blood Center, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
  • Lana Rosiek, nominated by American Red Cross, Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region. Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Donald C. Strieder, nominated by American Red Cross Heart of America Blood Services Region, Peoria, Ill.
  • Ernie Weckbaugh ("Stinky" from "The Little Rascals"), nominated by The Providence Blood Donor Center, Burbank, Calif.

Actor who Played Stinky in 1930s "Our Gang" movies

After being hospitalized more than 30 years ago for a serious infection that required him to receive blood transfusions, actor Ernie Weckbaugh became a dedicated blood donor, recently celebrating his 200th blood donation. Weckbaugh played Stinky in the original "Our Gang", or "Little Rascals," movies of the 1930s, which later became a television series.

"When I got out [of the hospital], I promised myself to pay it back," said Weckbaugh. "Well, I did, and 33 years later I'm still giving it back. I couldn't stop because it was so easy and the right thing to do."

Ceremonies honoring inductees are taking place at blood centers across the country. The inductees are also featured in Fenwal's 2010 Product and Donor Eligibility Dating Calendar, which is used by blood centers nationwide to help schedule blood donations.

About Blood Donation

Blood donors are the only source of blood for transfusion. When donating blood, people give a pint of whole blood or donate a specific blood component via an automated system. When donating whole blood, the donated unit is separated into its therapeutic components providing one unit of red blood cells and a partial dose of platelets and plasma. When donating on an automated system, a donor gives approximately the same amount of blood, but more of the component that is in highest demand depending on their donor characteristics and blood type.

Approximately 14 million units of red blood cells, 10 million platelet units and 4 million units of plasma are transfused annually in the United States. To make a blood donation or to learn more about donating blood, please contact your local blood center. To learn more about this year's Donation Hall of Fame inductees or to submit a nomination, please visit www.fenwalinc.com.

About Fenwal

Fenwal, Inc. became an independent company in 2007, but its roots go back to 1949 with the founding of Fenwal Laboratories. Fenwal developed the first flexible, disposable container for blood collection, eliminating complications associated with glass containers and allowing blood to be separated into therapeutic components. Today, the company's products and advanced collection and separation technologies are used throughout the world to help ensure a safe and available supply of lifesaving blood and blood products. Fenwal Inc. is based in Lake Zurich, Illinois. For more information, please visit www.fenwalinc.com.

SOURCE Fenwal, Inc.