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Local 251 Blood Drive

In December 2015, Local 251 (mixed and stage, Madison, Wisconsin) held a blood drive in memory of member Brian Hatfield’s father, Rev. Scott Hatfield, who was killed by a drunk driver. Brian and event organizers Rachelle Fenster and Davin Pickell share their story of activism and solidarity.

Brian Hatfield: My dad was hit at 3pm on September 2nd, 2015. On the scene of the accident he was given 5 units of blood. He fought until he died on September 8th. During his hospital stay he was given 50 units of blood, bringing his grand total to 55 units. 

Family, friends and co-workers kept asking how they could help. My family did not have a response until we learned how much blood he was given. My dad was a huge donor to the Red Cross. He was a hospice chaplain with AseraCare and was well aware of the constant need for blood donations.

While my dad was attempting to stabilize, we thought it would be great for him if we could get people to go in and donate in honor of my dad and post a picture on Facebook. It started slowly and then gathered steam. I think it was after the funeral that Rachelle approached me about doing a blood drive in my dad's memory. 

Rachelle Fenster: I felt devastated for Brian and his family. It was important to do something to help them. I met with the Red Cross to organize a blood drive and then used the Local 251 Facebook page, and my own Facebook page, to relay the information to members and friends. Others cross-posted to gain more coverage. 

Davin Pickell: Rachelle turned to me for help since I've been the Local's Red Cross One-A-Week club coordinator for quite a few years. When the level of commitment wasn't what we had hoped in terms of hosting a blood drive on site at the Overture Center for the Arts, where I'm on staff, I suggested that we talk to the Red Cross about the idea of a walk-in blood drive, over the course of a week or so, giving people an opportunity to fit a donation into their busy work and holiday schedules. 

In addition to Rachelle’s Facebook recruitment, I did two email blasts to Overture Center staff, as well as soliciting support at our all-staff meeting the week of the drive. The marketing folks at Overture were able to help us out with donated gift bags. 

RF: The Red Cross helped us with some posters that were placed in all of the venues at the Overture Center. I also contacted the Children's Theatre in Madison, The Orpheum Theatre and asked the production staff at The Madison Ballet to consider donations. 

After the Blood Drive, we held a gift drawing between performances of the "Nutcracker" to thank people for their donations and time. Brother Hatfield did the drawings and again we used Facebook to relay the results!

BH: My family loved the idea of the blood drive. My mother was incredibly touched that people who had never met my dad or knew my family were willing to go and donate in his memory. The Red Cross loved what we were doing and thought many of the stagehands who went were very silly. I was very touched by the support of the local as well as the venues in the city. Overture Center donated some lovely prize bags with tickets to shows and swag from Broadway shows. The Orpheum donated tickets to shows. 

RF: The Blood Drive took a fair amount of coordination, but it was great because we had it during a week of two of the biggest holiday shows of the year. It was a time of year when people tend to be in a giving spirit. The day that many of us went to donate was almost festive, it didn't take very long, it didn't hurt, and it was nice that we were all there together. 

We kept a sign-in sheet at each Red Cross location and asked on Facebook that whoever donated take a photo of their name on the sign-in sheet and post a picture of themselves giving blood. The fact that so many pitched in to help our Brother Brian was really the best part. 

After the event, when we got our numbers back from the Red Cross - 56 total successful donations which helped to save as many as 168 lives - I felt great! I was so happy to have pulled this event off and to have been able to do what Brian's family had wanted. 

DP: I recall my first blood donation in high school was a hoot. It sounds like the day Rachelle's contingent donated was similar. I arranged my donation time to provide a ride for one of our marketing folks at Overture who wouldn't have been able to donate otherwise. I always make sure that I have fun donating blood, and that morning was no exception. 

BH: The day of the blood drive, I shed a few tears. When you walk into the Red Cross to donate and you look down the list and see people you work with, people you don't know, friends, and family, it is pretty amazing. We hit our goal to have donated what my dad used.  It meant the world to me. My dad would have been thrilled. 

My dad was hit by a drunk driver at 3pm. Stagehand is sometimes synonymous with drinking, so please think before getting behind the wheel. Please also keep donating blood. The Red Cross is always in need and a single unit of blood can save multiple people.