Fran Duell with her ‘Spirit of Ohio” team colors quilt

Fran Duell arrived at the downtown Dayton Community Blood Center (CBC) with an appointment, a special delivery, and a question. “I asked Sher (CBC Marketing Manager Sher Patrick) if she remembered how long since I donated my first afghan to CBC. She said, 2008? I said, no, how about 2004!”

Fran brought along a small photo booklet to her whole blood donation appointment. The cover said simply “Afghans for CBC – 2004 to PRESENT.” Inside were pictures of all the afghans she has created for CBC donor raffles – at least one a year, beginning with a “Patriot Day” blanket to honor the third anniversary of 9/11 in September of 2004, followed by many years of donating two or three blankets.

She outdid herself in 2011 with four different creations: her classic Patriot Day commemorative blanket in red, white and blue on the 10th anniversary of 9/11; her trademark “Spirit of Ohio” blanket featuring team colors from universities across the state; her traditional pink blanket for October Breast Cancer Awareness month; and her ever-popular Ohio State-Michigan blanket in honor of “The Game.”

She is at again in 2012. CBC will raffle her latest Spirit of Ohio blanket in September and her pink Breast Cancer Awareness Month blanket in October.

Her CBC booklet is really just one chapter in the Fran Duell encyclopedia of blanket building. She keeps a photo of every blanket she makes. “I’m at about 500 now,” she says. “I use books that hold 100 pictures, so that helps me keep track.” She doesn’t have to keep track of her blood donations – CBC does that for her – but she is well aware of that count. “I’m working on six gallons (48 LTD)” she says after making 43rd donation.

“I started making one for Patriot Day,” she says of her first blanket for CBC. It was three years after the 9/11 attacks and the launch of the Afghanistan war and a year after the invasion of Iraq. On the day of Fran’s most visit, Aug. 23, newspaper headlines reported the 2,000 American service member to die in the Afghanistan war. “I go to St. Christopher’s,” Fran says. “I started the 9/11 vigil there. “We’ve done it every year and this year we’ll hold an overnight vigil again to pray for world peace.”

The blanket making is another form of meditation for Fran. She credits the discipline with everything from helping her quit smoking to keeping her arthritis at bay. Most of all there is the satisfaction that comes from helping CBC encourage blood donations, and getting to thank a blood donor with a very warm embrace.

Win the ‘Spirit of Ohio’ quilt by entering the raffle when you register to donate at the downtown Dayton CBC.

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