The Penn State Track and Field team has sponsored an annual blood drive for the past several years–because for them, it’s personal.
Assistant Track and Field Coach Fritz Spence has defeated Leukemia twice (in 2008 and in 2013), and was at last week’s Homecoming blood drive supporting his athletes who were donating. As a former cancer patient, multiple months in the hospital meant countless blood transfusions for Coach Spence. He said he was “happy and proud” to see his athletes turn out to donate.
Athlete Kasey Kemp has been donating blood at the Track and Field sponsored drive for the past five years. “It helped [Coach Spence] a lot, so I think about that a lot when I donate blood,” Kemp said.
With Kemp was Steph Sievers, another T&F athlete and first time blood donor. “The experience was better than I expected–the people were great and talked me through everything,” Sievers said. When asked about how she overcame her anxiety towards donating blood, she “just thought about where it goes.” A single red cell blood donation can help save up to three lives, and the need for blood in America is constant.
Coach Spence’s message to those who are apprehensive about giving blood? “Get informed and stay educated–it’s such a simple procedure that has a huge impact.”