April 7, 2022

DAYTON, Ohio - University of Dayton students not only gave blood at the April 6 "For Pete's Sake" Blood Drive in the RecPlex, they cast a vote for their school and the cause of organ and tissue donations.

The UD Physical Therapy program is observing April Donate Life Month with the eighth annual "For Pete's Sake" organ and tissue donor awareness campaign. This is the first year the PT program has partnered with Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services to include sponsoring a UD blood drive.

"For Pete's Sake" is an annual challenge among faculty and students in Physical Therapy programs at Ohio and Kentucky universities. Students have from January through April to "vote" for their school by registering as an organ and tissue donor or making a blood donation.

Organizers saw launching Donate Life Month with a blood drive and a Life Connection of Ohio organ donor registration table as a new opportunity to draw attention to the campaign.

"Just before starting we had 89 people signed up," said Dr. Sean Gallivan, Director of Clinical Education and Associate Clinical Professor in the UD Department of Physical Therapy. "If someone stops by to register or is already an organ donor, we'll have that too."

It was the final blood drive of the year at UD and topped 100% of collection goal with 73 donors, 63 donations and 33 first-time donors. The results will be part of UD's total submitted to the Challenge the end of April.

"We have not won it yet," said Dr. Gallivan. "Usually there are one or two schools who say, 'We love Pete and we're going to make it happen.' We might be able to do it this year."

Peter Mosher was an Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. He passed away in 2013 while awaiting a double lung transplant.  A mission in his final months was promoting awareness of the need for organ donors.

"He wanted something that would outlive him, and we completed and formalized it in the challenge," said Dr. Gallivan.

"I think it really increases our ability to capture more attention and cast a wider net," said PT associate professor Tricia Renner after donating Wednesday.

The Physician's Assistant program and the Catholic Life organization co-sponsored the blood drive and provided volunteers. "So many people can't give blood," said Catholic Life volunteer Claire Greco. "If you able to, it's important to give what you can."

Kayla Farley, a pre-PT student volunteered at the Life Connections table, assisting in registering donors, checking driver licenses for organ donor status, entering students in a raffle, and handing out gifts.

"I'm helping register people and we've got stress balls to give away," she said. "Finals are coming up in the beginning of May so we can use them!"

"I thought it was interesting," said UD freshman Mandy Belotte who stopped by the table. "I'm a registered donor."

"I think it's great to be part of the blood drive," said Stephanie Burianek, Community Outreach Coordinator for Life Connections. "You can register to be an organ and tissue donor and find out what it means to give blood."