Meet our 10 finalists who will participate in the 2017 Volkswagen Grand Prize Ceremony on Wed., Oct. 4 at United Blood Services’ Scottsdale Headquarters!
June 1 – 30: Mark Schrecker (Scottsdale), Scottsdale Donor Center
Mark served 25 years in the Marine Corps and retired two years ago as a Colonel. He had always wanted to give blood, but as a medevac pilot, his flight status did not allow him to donate while on duty. These days, Mark is the GM for two businesses down the street from the Scottsdale Donor Center, so it makes it easy for him to continue to save lives. “I wanted a chance to give back – a chance to save a life from a different perspective,” he said.
July 1 – 31: Kelly Murphy (Scottsdale), Scottsdale Donor Center
Service to others was instilled in Kelly at a very young age by her father who is a multi-gallon blood donor and her mother who works in the medical field. Kelly served in the Coast Guard for four years after college graduation and moved to Arizona upon discharge. She started giving blood in high school and has continued to donate blood whenever she could throughout her journey. “I have served my country and now I’m serving people in another way,” she said. Today, Kelly regularly donates blood, works as an employment recruiter in the high voltage industry and is excited about planning her April wedding with her fiancé, John.
August 1 – 31: Judy Hovis (Gold Canyon), Mesa Donor Center
Judy knows the importance of giving blood because she required transfusions in 1973 when she hemorrhaged during surgery. “Someone saved my life, so why not save someone else’s life!” Judy and her husband drive 70 miles roundtrip every eight weeks to donate blood. They have been married for 54 years and plan on donating together as long as they are able. Judy retired as a manger from Radio Shack after 20 years and now works at the McDonald’s near her home.
Special Event: Zachary Wik (Scottsdale), Saving Arizona Blood Drive
Zachary Wik heard about the urgent need for blood on the news and rushed over to the Saving Arizona Blood Drive to donate on July 2. Zak believes it is a privilege to donate blood. “I had a high school friend who was in a car accident and needed a transfusion,” he said. “It made me realize how real the need is.” Zak graduated from the UofA last December and is now a financial analyst in the Phoenix area.
Teen Donor: Cariayn Rutherford (Queen Creek), Queen Creek High School Blood Drive
Cariayn gave for the first time on Aug. 29 at the Queen Creek High School blood drive and was drawn just two weeks later as this summer’s VW teen donor finalist. “It was really awesome to save someone’s life and the extra credit in English class was great too,” Cariayn said. “With type O blood, it makes it cool to know I’m helping even more!” Her mom, Clara, was a nurse for 15 years and witnessed the lifesaving effect of blood transfusions, so she is very proud of her daughter for making the choice to donate blood.
MAX Center Donor: Cameron Bates (Chandler), Chandler Donor Center
Cameron Bates has learned a lot about the importance of blood since he is on the Hamilton High School blood drive committee. Cameron wasn’t able to donate during the school year, but as soon as he was eligible, he went right to the Chandler Donor Center. He saw a donor maximizing his impact by giving platelets and wanted to give it a try – four times, in fact, between June 23 and July 24. The good karma Cameron created resulted in his name being drawn as this year’s MAX donor finalist. “It makes me feel good because someone needs this to live,” said Cameron. “It seems like the right thing to do – my dad can’t give, so I’m making up the difference.”
Mobile Power Donor: Jason Kelly (Phoenix), St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church Blood Drive
Jason became a donor in high school, following in his father’s footsteps. Like him, his dad had type O blood and had always donated through his church. He likes to encourage others to donate with him . . . “I am a wimp, and if I can do it, you can too,” he joked. Jason is married with 2 kids and works as a litigation attorney.
Goal-Making Coordinator: Bill Lamoreaux (Phoenix), Arizona Department of Corrections Blood Drive
Blood drives provide 60% of Arizona’s blood supply, so one VW finalist spot is reserved for a coordinator who achieved their blood drive goal. This year’s finalist is Bill Lamoreaux, who not only exceeded his goal by 19%, but is also a 36-time donor. He started giving blood in high school because it is obviously needed and priceless to the patients who receive it! Bill is married and the proud father of three kids.
Bonus Online Entry: Steven Moore (Buckeye), Goodyear Donor Center
Steven donated on July 6 and feels very fortunate that his name was drawn from among 7,425 donors who registered their Bonus Entry Card promo codes online. He hopes that the Oct. 4 VW Grand Prize Ceremony will be a lucky day for him, too, because it is also his 14th wedding anniversary. His wife’s car has 108,000 miles on it, so it would make a great gift for her. Steven is also a devoted 31-time blood donor who is grateful that the blood was there for his mother when she was fighting cancer and went through multiple surgeries. “I want to make a difference for others who need blood.” Steven is the transportation supervisor for Buckeye High School and is wife is a nurse.
Bonus VW Showroom Entry: Maria Lopez (Peoria), Saving Arizona Blood Drive
When Maria went with her best friend to the Saving Arizona blood drive, she was thinking about her 14-year-old cousin who received blood transfusions when he went through a kidney transplant. She felt even better when she got the text from UBS saying that her blood had been sent to a hospital. “When you have a crappy day, it puts things in perspective,” Maria said. Now she is elated since her name was drawn from among the 2,439 donors who visited a Volkswagen showroom to deposit their Bonus Entry Cards. If she wins, she plans on giving her current car to a family member who just got out of the hospital and doesn’t have a vehicle. Maria is single and works at the Amazon warehouse in the West Valley.