Bolingbrook Knights of Columbus set personal blood drive record
Justin Zamirowski swears his father Walter’s life was extended by four years by blood donations.
The 65-year-old Zamirowski, of Bolingbrook, and his brother, Denis Zamirowski, donated blood to their father every eight weeks after their father developed a condition in which his body slowed its production of red blood cells.
“I knew my brother and I were doing a good thing for our father,” Justin Zamirowski said. “We, as well as the others who donated, extended his life an extra four years. It’s remarkable when you actually see the impact you are making on another person’s life. It was then that I realized what an amazing service this is.”
For more than 15 years, Zamirowski has organized yearly Knights of Columbus blood drives in Bolingbrook. Events usually average 20 to 35 participants, each giving one pint of blood. All of the blood is taken to Heartland Blood Center, where it is then dispersed to local hospitals.
Zamirowski, retired from his job as a manager at the U.S. Department of Energy, has been an active Knights of Columbus member for more than 15 years. He served a two-year term as grand knight seven years ago, and now garners the title of past grand knight.
On Saturday, Jan. 19, Zamirowski organized the Bolingbrook Knights of Columbus’s St. Francis of Assisi Council National Service Day Blood Drive at Bolingbrook Fire Station Number Five.
The event generated a surplus of volunteers, record-setting attendance and 51 pints of blood, the most since the Bolingbrook Knights began taking attendance records in 2008, according to Heartland Blood Center.
“That was, by far, the most blood the Knights have ever received at a three-hour blood drive,” Zamirowski said. “We had an influx of volunteers helping us set-up and take-down, then received a flood of people who wanted to donate once the event started at 9 a.m. We usually expect around 20 volunteers, but we had over 50. It was an amazing event.”
Zamirowski attributes the day’s impressive attendance to his wife, Cindy, who publicized the event on Facebook and contacted state and federal representatives to ensure the blood drive’s affiliation with National Service Day.
In conjunction with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the second weekend of January was deemed American National Service Day, and President Barrack Obama encouraged every American to spend some time serving his or her community.
Cindy Zamirowski, a retired Bolingbrook school teacher, was inspired to become a National Service Day participant after receiving an email blast from First Lady Michelle Obama.
“When I checked the National Service Day website, there were no Bolingbrook-based events,” she said. “It seemed like something Bolingbrook should be involved in, so I posted the Knights of Columbus blood drive online. Before I knew it, I was handling all the logistics. But, it really was a wonderful day, the community united and did an amazing thing.”
The next Knights of Columbus blood drive will take place near the end of March.
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