More than 150 people attended a blood donation drive at Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Kensington Thursday night to honor a man severely injured last month after being hit by a truck.
Dr. Grant Bonavia, a radiologist at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and a commander in the Navy, was pinned against a utility pole on Oct. 23 at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Saul Road. He suffered extensive injuries and has had at least eight surgeries.
Bonavia also had 15 blood transfusions following the crash due to heavy bleeding.
Members of the Holy Redeemer church and school communities decided two weeks ago to organize a blood drive as a tribute to Bonavia.
Ann Turgeon, one of the event organizers, said in an interview that the idea was to replace the blood used in the transfusions that saved Bonavia’s life.
She said she knows the Bonavias since their children attend school together. Turgeon said she spoke with Bonavia’s wife, Mattie, who asked that people give blood if they want to help.
“Him being a naval doctor at Walter Reed, he realizes how precious that was,” Turgeon said of the blood drive. “He’s around that every day. And I think that’s where their heads were at. That’s what they were thinking about in this moment, and that blows my mind.”
Turgeon said organizers coordinated with the Red Cross to make the blood drive happen and 152 people signed up for appointments. Walk-ins had to be turned away, she said.
Turgeon said the large turnout illustrates the close-knit community at Holy Redeemer.
“This neighborhood and community really do rally, and it’s a really special place,” she said.
Among those who gave blood Thursday was Turgeon’s husband, University of Maryland men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon.
“It was special for him,” Ann Turgeon said.
David Hull, a spokesman for American Red Cross Blood Services, said in an interview that donors gave 138 units, or pints, of blood Thursday night — enough to help roughly 377 patients.
“It was a wonderful event. Everyone was very patient and willing to come out and donate,” he said.
Hull said the donated blood will be taken to a facility outside Baltimore. Test tubes of the blood will be taken to a lab to ensure its safety. Then the units with be broken into the components of red blood cells, plasma and platelets.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.email@example.com