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350 donate in blood drive for Miranda
SIGNED WITH LOVE: Miranda Petrella, a 17-year-old graduate of Cranston High School West, signs a pink fire truck from RI Pink Heals during the recent blood and bone marrow drive.

On July 3, the streets surrounding the Cranston Police station experienced more traffic than usual, but the department didn’t mind, as 350 visited the station to donate blood and be tested for bone marrow transplant availability by the Rhode Island Blood Center.

Miranda Petrella, a 17-year-old graduate from Cranston High School West, was diagnosed with leukemia on May 1 after complaining of symptoms of fatigue. She has undergone treatment and is fighting back, making it to her senior prom and graduation this past spring.

She also turned up at the blood drive to thank family, friends and neighbors for their support. She signed one of the pink fire trucks provided by RI Pink Heals, a volunteer group of firefighters and police officers who bring support, comfort and other services to women with cancer.

In bold black letters, she let the crowd know where she stands.

“Thank you for all your support and encouragement! Miranda - P.S. I WILL SURVIVE!!”

“In total, the day of the drive, approximately 350 people came to the Cranston Police Department to show their support. We collected 247 pints on July 3, giving us a current total of 320 pints of blood, which will go on to save up to 960 lives,” said Courtney Entwistle, account manager for donor resources at the Blood Center.

Promotions for the drive began in May with a heavy focus on social media. Entwistle said they had already collected 73 pints in Petrella’s name prior to the drive.

The crowd consisted of an outpouring from law enforcement, as well as students from both Cranston High School East and West, which set the tone for the day. When word spread in the high schools, it took only two days for more than 250 students to sign up to pledge to come to the event and participate in the drive. At no point was there a bed open for donors, who were patiently waiting in line for their turn to give. The 18 set-ups for donors were full during the entire drive. The line that formed was cut two hours before the drive was to end at 7 p.m. in order to collect all the donations.

Petrella’s family and friends were present throughout the entire drive to show their support, helping with setup, donor flow and refreshments.

The R.I. Blood Center applauded the efforts of the Cranston Police Department and Captain Sean Carmody, who were huge supporters and opened up the station for use for the drive.

“They also played a big role in getting the word out to the community,” said Entwistle.

You can still donate blood in Miranda Petrella’s name if you provide the sponsor code of #3179 at the Rhode Island Blood Center or at any local blood drive sponsored by the center. While Petrella may not receive these donations directly, her family will be notified of the support provided by friends, family and the community, and the blood supply will continue to be replenished.


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