Mike McCracken - UD Afghan winner

March Madness gave us exciting college basketball, and Beavercreek donor Mike McCracken will remember it “warmly.”

Villanova routed Michigan to win the NCAA men’s title, but women’s champ Notre Dame needed a last-second, three-point basket to beat Mississippi State. Mike used a buzzer-beater of his own to win the drawing for Fran Duell’s “UD Afghan.”

The drawing began with the “First Four” games at UD Arena and continued through the end of the Men’s Final Four on Monday, April 2.  Mike took his last-second shot at winning on the final day of the drawing.

“I was just in last night for my plasma donation,” Mike said Tuesday after learning he was the winner. “I saw the picture there, saw a nice looking blanket, and hand-made I assumed.”

The UD Afghan is indeed hand-made by donor Fran Duell. The Flyer-inspired blanket is one of many afghans Fran traditionally creates for CBC and other charitable organizations to use as a prize for donor raffles.

Fran’s UD blankets are distinctive and nostalgic.  Even some die-hard Flyer fans are unaware that UD’s original team colors were not dark blue and red. Back when Fran was a UD student (class of ’66) the team wore light blue and red.

“I follow a little, I’m not a hard core fan, but with UD significant in the area I try to keep up,” said Mike.

Mike makes it a habit to donate at the Dayton CBC, usually after leaving work at nearby GEMCITY Engineering & Manufacturing.  He has been donating for more than 20 years and has 38 lifetime donations “I now try to donate about four times a year,” he said.

Mike used to donate at GEMCITY blood drives.  But he’s been donating plasma at the Dayton CBC since 2012.  His blood type is AB, making him a “universal donor” for plasma.

“I know they use the AB positive plasma for burn patients,” he said. That was kind of neat and got me hooked.  I get that automated call a few days after donating about your plasma being used at a hospital. That makes it real. Every time I donate. That’s cool.”

Mike looked forward to showing the afghan to his wife, and had message for Fran. “Tell Fran thank you! Most likely it will be over the back of the coach, for both of us to use!”