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Blood Drive to honor late athlete

A blood drive to honor Megan Fong, a Bradley women’s tennis player who passed away during her sophomore year, will take place Dec. 3.
The Megan C. Fong Blood and Bone Marrow Drive, which was renamed in honor of the late Fong, who died after an eight-month battle with leukemia,  will take place from noon to 6 p.m. in Haussler Hall.
Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh said drive was renamed as a tribute to Fong and the inspiration she provided.  
“Megan was part of that first group to donate bone marrow, in 2001,” Kavanagh. said “Later, Megan needed to take advantage of a blood marrow transplant program herself.”
He said the drive began nine years ago, and the bone marrow portion was added two years later.
“It dawned upon me, what a great way it would be to get involved in providing for a real need in the community,” he said.
The drive is strategically planned between Thanksgiving and Winter Break because of the greater need for donations during that time, Kavanagh said.
“The need for blood and bone marrow donors is especially great around the holidays where there is more traveling, and unfortunately, more accidents,” he said. 
The blood drive is a part of BLAST, the Bradley Athletics Life Skills Program, and is organized by Life Skills Coordinator Jessi Searby, the Megan Fong Blood Drive Committee and the Braves club.
“The blood drive is run by the athletes,” Kavanagh said. “From the set-up and take-down to assisting the donors, they make it happen.”
Searby said the event, which was previously held in the Robertson Memorial Field House, will now take place in Haussler Hall’s gym. 
“We are a little worried about the turnout this year,” Searby said. “Both because we had to move the event back, and because of the new location. We want to make sure that we don’t lose any potential donors, especially those from the community.”
Kavanagh said they are still hoping to break records in donations this year.
Searby said this year’s blood donors will also receive a Red Pride point.
“We hope this won’t be the only incentive, but we do want to give this as a thank-you,” she said.
There are some guidelines to keep in mind for those who plan to give blood.
According to the Red Cross, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Donors may also give whole blood only once every 56 days.
Donors must also pass a test for blood-iron level, Searby said.
Kavanagh said even though blood donating might be scary, he hopes students will take advantage of this opportunity for community service.
“I’m not big on needles, and every year I have to look the other way,” he said. “But it doesn’t really hurt once you’ve got that first needle in, and this is a new chance to do something new at Bradley and to give back.”
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