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‘Do whatever you can to help’: Blood drive held at Bear River High School in honor of student

Daniel Sapp, a phlebotomist with Vitalant, drawing blood from Michael Fanucchi, who participated in the blood drive held at Bear River High School’s campus on Wednesday.
Photos by Victoria Penate

Michael Fanucchi knew he had to give blood.

A volunteer with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, Fanucchi said he showed up to give blood Wednesday after his daughter, a friend of Chase Milligan’s family, informed him of the blood drive at Bear River High School being held on the family’s behalf.

Having children of his own, said Fanucchi, he couldn’t imagine what the family is going through following Milligan’s life-threatening vehicle collision earlier this month.

“I hadn’t done it in a while,” said Fanucchi on donating blood. “But, when I saw this, I figured I had to do it.”

Members of the community went to Bear River High School from 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesday for a blood drive organized in honor of Milligan, a Bear River student.

Vitalant, a nonprofit blood services provider, brought two buses to the campus, each equipped for the blood donations to happen inside. Their staff brought participants of the blood drive in as they arrived for their appointments, in addition to taking walk-ins.

Bear River High School student Ryder Holcomb said he was there Wednesday to donate blood for the first time in honor of Milligan, his friend, because he believes it would mean a lot to him.

“I’m just doing it for him,” said Holcomb. “Keep Chase in your thoughts and do whatever you can to help him and his family.”

Two Vitalant buses parked at Bear River High School’s campus Wednesday afternoon, where a blood drive was held on behalf of the family of Chase Milligan, a Bear River student who was recently injured in a vehicle accident.
A bag of markers was attached to the side of one of the Vitalant buses underneath a banner reading, “Get well Chase!,” so that visitors to the blood drive Wednesday afternoon could add their own positive messages.

According to Vitalant donor recruitment representative Gayle Graves, who was working to facilitate the blood drive Wednesday, 55 appointments were made ahead of time to donate blood.

Less than half an hour into the event, however, five walk-ins had already come by.

Graves said the blood donation is particularly important as we are “at critical levels right now,” both nationwide and within the local community.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com

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