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Blood Drive Supports Professor's Son

Blood DriveThe School of Science, School of Social Work, and School of Nursing and Health Studies sponsored a blood drive to honor Monmouth’s own Ollie Daneshgar on Monday, Feb. 10.

Ollie, the four-year-old son of Pedram Daneshgar Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, was diagnosed with Leukemia on Nov. 7. All donations were sent to Robert Wood Johnson hospital in New Brunswick, where Ollie is currently receiving treatment.

“I never really gave blood drives that much attention until my son got Leukemia,” said Daneshgar. “And then I saw him get several blood transfusions in the last three months. He would not be alive without them, so it really hit home.”

Hosted in the Edison Science Building, the blood drive drew 137 registered donors with 104 whole blood donations, five platelet donations, and one plasma donation.

Koorleen Minton, Assistant to the Dean of the School of Science, said, “Every year I assemble a group of students comprised of honor societies, clubs, and others that just volunteer to help.” These organizations include Eta Sigma Gamma, the National Health Education Honor Society, Beta Beta Beta, the Biological Honor Society, the Next Generation Science Club, and the School of Science Peer Mentors. The drive offered an opportunity for student members to fulfill the service requirement for these honor societies.

Minton has been organizing campus blood drives since 2014. Since then, the University has donated over 1300 pints of blood in total. The University hosts three blood drives per school year.

Minton said that this was the first year that Robert Wood Johnson has done platelet donations. She explained, “A platelet is almost like a centrifuge where you’re hooked up to a machine and it will put your blood back in but it will pull the platelets out of your blood. Platelet donations take about an hour and a half.” According to Minton, cancer patients like Ollie have the most need for platelets.

“This was a way for the Monmouth family to help out one of their own,” said Steven Bachrach Ph.D., Dean of the School of Science and Professor of Chemistry. “It was a tremendously successful drive.”

Before partnering with Robert Wood Johnson for the past two years, the University partnered with the Central Jersey Blood Center in Shrewsbury until the company went out of business. During the five-year partnership, Monmouth won five annual awards for donating the most pints of blood of any other university. The University holds a record of 237 pints of blood donated in one drive.

“That’s what blood drives are for—to make sure there are reserves available for hospitals to ensure that they can deliver the medical care necessary,” Bachrach said. “Modern medicine really depends on us being able to have this supply available.”

Lilia Crew, a freshman biology student with a concentration in molecular cell physiology, was one of the 137 students to register for Monday’s blood drive. She said, “It’s crazy that we’re creating something that can help others. It’s our bodies that are able to provide this for other people. You know you’re making an impact. [Blood] technically expires, so you really need it constantly.”

The blood drive featured a poster for blood donors to sign a message to Ollie. “I’m excited that people actually see a face and recognize a name and that gets them to come out,” said Daneshgar. “When you get a diagnosis like Leukemia, you don’t really know how to feel about it. We have been humbled by the Monmouth community and how supportive everyone has been. There’s a family vibe with the faculty and the students.”

The University will be hosting another blood drive on April 13. Bachrach said, “We’re going to see a long-lasting effect here, that we will have a hundred volunteers again for the next drive. You may not know who is getting your blood, but you do know that it is saving somebody’s life.”

Minton said, “We are always amazed at the continued outpour of love and generosity for Ollie and his family. We just hope he gets better soon.”

PHOTO TAKEN by Melissa Badamo

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