A Blood Drive for a Beloved Former Student

Recently, the EWG community joined together to donate their time and their blood to a local cause.

On November 1, a blood drive was hosted at the EWG Senior High. This drive was brought on by a former EWG student, Gianni Guerrieri. Guerrieri suffered a tragic car accident in 2021, resulting in his needing a lot of blood. His passing sparked his family to run a blood drive to help to supply others like Gianni with the blood they need.

Flyer for the Gianni Guerrieri Memorial Blood Drive, Nov. 1.

Over the summer, Gianni’s mother, Summer Guerrieri, reached out to a Rhode Island Blood Center personnel, Heather Robenhymer, to organize a blood drive. They knew they wanted to host the event around the fall season because it’s coincidentally both the season of Gianni’s birthday and the season of his accident. While they were considering venues, a student from EWG reached out to the blood center to organize her own blood drive for their Senior Project. It worked out, so that they were able to combine the two projects into one blood drive, here at the senior high, that incorporated both students and people in the community. They also recruited students from the National Honor Society to help set up and run the event.

“There’s been, sadly, some pretty awful things that have happened in our community, that students are becoming acutely aware of how important donating blood is.”

Heather Robenhymer, Rhode Island Blood Center Staff

The event itself was hosted in the auditorium, and ran starting towards the end of the school day, and into the evening. This allowed for both students and community members to attend at the most convenient time for them. The team who organized the event thought it important to have part of it during the school day itself to encourage students to donate, as “convenience is a huge factor in giving blood,” and because they have fresh in mind the accidents that have occurred in the local community.

For the event, the Rhode Island Blood Center provided the drive with purple arm bands, for after an individual had given blood, instead of the traditional red. According to Robenhymer, typically, these special purple bands are only given out for events in honor of a girl named Gianna Cirella, who also was in need of blood, as her favorite color was purple. As luck would have it, Gianni’s favorite color was also purple, and having these special bands at the drive meant a lot to his mother.

Thanks to the support of the community, they were able to exceed their goal, bringin in around 50 success donations. This was a huge triumph for them because, as Robenhymer commented, “One donation can help save three lives.” This is due to the fact that once the blood is sent to their lab, the blood is separated into three different components: plasma, red blood cells, and platelets.

Although they had a great turnout, Robenhymer commented on how important it is to continue to bring in blood for the center, as it only lasts so long, and “every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion.” Due to this, and the event’s success, they plan to make it an annual event.

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