Remembering Sam: A Red Cross Blood Drive

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 03/11 2014 06:59PM

Updated 03/11 2014 07:14PM

NORTH CLARENDON, Vt. - The North Clarendon community joined together today to donate blood in remembrance of a local high school student who passed away a few years ago.
It may look like your ordinary blood drive - people giving a piece of themselves to help save a life. But this drive at Mill River High School in North Clarendon is in honor of a former student.

“Sam died in August 2011, very unexpectedly,” said Cindy Pelkey, Sam’s Mom and co-organizer of the blood drive.

Pelkey says when she lost her son Sam the community rallied around her family to support them in their time of need. So now she's paying it forward.

“It’s my way of giving back to the community,” said Pelkey.

Pelkey along with students at the high school organized the drive to remember Sam during what would have been his senior year. His fellow classmates came to volunteer and donate blood for in honor of their friend.

“I thought it would be a good way to give back to Sam for everything he gave me when he was here, with us,” said Annie Cotrupi, one of Sam’s best friends.

“Anything involving him we want to be a part of,” said Karissa Shaw, one of Sam’s best friends.

More than 100 appointments were made to donate blood throughout the day with walk-ins welcome.

“It’s the one thing you can do that doesn't cost a lot of money and you can't manufacture blood, you can't buy blood all you can do is donate it. It’s something small that could save someone’s life,” said Pelkey. And one pint of donnated blood can save up to three lives.

Along with Sam's friends- the event was a family affair. Sam's grandmother was first to donate, his second cousin collected her blood. Sam's aunt and parents donated too, all to help keep Sam's memory alive.

“As a mother my worst fear is that he will be forgotten and on a day like today I know he isn’t,” said Pelkey.

Food donations were also collected for the Community Cupboard in Rutland. In all the drive collected more than 80 pints of blood.

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