QUEENSTOWN — When the nonprofit Amy’s Army began organizing a blood drive in memory of the late Amy Stoops Rhodes, the group’s goal was to register 100 donors for the Jan. 6 event.
Blood Bank of Delmarva likes to see at least 35 donors come out for a blood drive. Amy’s Army drew 102 donors on its first try, a tremendous boost to the blood supply shortly after the slow holiday period. The event was chaired by Melissa Dodd, Cara Smith and Lindsay Newcomb.
“Amy was amazing in the community and we knew we were going to have an amazing turnout,” Dodd said. “They’re supporting us, Amy’s Army and we’re extremely pleased and Amy was a blood donor herself.”
On Oct. 10, 2015, Amy Stoops married Jason Rhodes on their family farm. Just 13 days later, on Oct. 23, Amy was taken to University of Maryland Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown, suffering from severe head pain.
She was flown to University of Maryland Shock Trauma with a ruptured arteriovenous malformation, or AVM. Previously undiagnosed, doctors found a tangle of blood vessels in Amy’s brain had hemorrhaged. After many surgeries, Amy died on Christmas Eve 2015.
Amy’s Army was created to remember the kind, funny, compassionate, and fiercely dedicated person she was to those she loved.
The blood drive was held at American Legion Post #296 in Queenstown and drew a mix of veteran blood donors like Chip Councell (Dodd’s father) and first-time donors like David Wenck.
“Those girls worked hard for this and it looks like it’s a success,” Councell said in the midst of the hustle and bustle.
Wenck donated on his birthday in lieu of his wife, Kathy, who learned she did not meet the minimum weight of 110 pounds to give blood during check in.
“I’m celebrating by giving back to someone else after 54 years of life,” Wenck said. “It won’t be any good tomorrow,” he added in jest.
The late Amy Rhodes’ husband, Jason, as well as her mother, Barbara Stoops, along with her father and mother in law, Billy and Charlene Rhodes, donated at the drive as well.
“It warms my heart to see how these young people have organized this,” Barbara Stoops said. “It’s just amazing. These girls are absolutely amazing.”
“When Amy was in the hospital she had a lot of transfusions,” Jason Rhodes said. “People care because Amy touched a lot of people. It’s a good thing.”
Several people were also at the drive because they were a friend of one of the members of Amy’s Army, including people like Susan Sanger and Heather Smith.
“It’s a great community event that we can all connect to,” Sanger said.
Amy’s Army officials thanked the Benedict A. Andrew American Legion for allowing them to use the space needed for the blood drive.
The Amy’s Army Blood Drive also sold out of 175 pork dinners in two hours, with proceeds going to help a local woman battling cancer.
BBD serves all 19 hospitals in the Delmarva Peninsula and must maintain a seven-day supply of all blood types. To learn more about donating or hosting a blood drive, visit www.del marv ablood.org.