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Blood drive benefit April 7 for 2020 NIU graduates hurt in fire

April 1, 2021

Two December graduates of Northern Illinois University who received life-saving transfusions after being gravely injured in a February fire are giving back with a blood drive for the community on April 7.

After the Feb. 12 apartment fire, Matt Zamudio and Alyssa Noonan were airlifted from DeKalb to a trauma center in Rockford, where they were treated for severe burns and given plasma and blood. In the weeks since, the campus and community have rallied around the Huskies —raising more than $40,000 in two GoFundMe campaigns to help cover medical expenses for Zamudio and Noonan.

Now, the pair are providing another way to contribute, with a blood drive planned from 2-7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 7, in the Hopkins Community Center’s Terrace Room, located at 1403 Sycamore Road.

“Even if you can’t donate financially, blood is something you can donate that has no cost to you,” said Melisa Pitstick, a team leader at Versiti Blood Centers who is spearheading the drive. “And then, in turn, it can save the lives of people in other emergencies.”

Pitstick says a blood donor can help up to three people. And yet, donations have dropped during the pandemic for a variety of reasons, which prompted Zamudio and Noonan to organize a drive with the philosophy that “blood can be replaced — a life cannot.”

Schedule an appointment by contacting Pitstick at [email protected], calling Versiti Blood Centers at 800-786-4483, or visiting versiti.org and using the code SPON205182. Walk-ins are welcome also.

Donors will need a mask and photo ID, and should eat a nutritious meal and hydrate well beforehand.