Fran pink afghan 2018

Blood donor, afghan artist, and CBC friend Fran Duell is reminding us all to keep focused on October National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

She’s been focused for months on creating a new awareness afghan and having it ready for Oct. 1.

“I think of my sister a lot. She’s been gone since 2001,” said Fran about the sister she lost to breast cancer. She honors her with the annual tradition of creating a special pink afghan for a donor drawing at the Dayton CBC Donor Center.

It was her sister who first inspired Fran to begin knitting afghan throw blankets to help charitable causes.  “My sister was involved with Daybreak (a shelter for runaway teens),” she said.  “They had a golf tournament coming up and said ‘Why don’t you make an afghan for a prize?’ That was for Daybreak in the summer of ‘95 and I’ve been making afghans for charities ever since.”

This labor of love took on additional meaning for Fran after she lost her husband Joe to lymphoma.  October is when the CBC/CTS team throws its support behind the annual Dayton Light The Night fundraising walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Some 500 afghans later Fran continues to crochet with loving care for CBC and for many Miami Valley charities and special events.

Fran manages to maintain traditional designs – especially the pink for the fight against cancer – but introduces some new wrinkles.  This year’s October Breast Cancer Month afghan starts with dark pinks on one end and fades into white at the other end.

“I always start with my darkest-colored yarn,” she said. “This time I kept using what I had, and when I ran out and change to the next color.  When I ran out of pink I used white.  It’s more white yarn than I’ve used in a while but I like it.”


Dracula scares Abby Hern.JPG

VANDALIA, Ohio – It must be Halloween season in the Miami Valley if vampires are visiting Vandalia.  Dracula flew by Vandalia-Butler High School Sept. 28 to check out the menu at the Aviators’ blood drive.

Vandalia’s Morgan Brazie, a volunteer with the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, donned the count’s black tuxedo and blood-red cape to mingle with donors.  He gave longing looks to plump blood bags and recently-wrapped arms as he posed for photos with student donors and volunteers, but minded his manners.

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is partnering with Community Blood Center to promote blood donations and the Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera and Dayton Philharmonic production of “Dracula: Bloodlines” coming up Oct. 25-28 at the Victoria Theater.

Everyone who registered to donate at the blood drive received a voucher for a “buy one ticket, get one ticket” offer to see “Dracula: Bloodlines.”  Vouchers will also be available through the Drama Club.

“Just hearing about opera in general makes me want to go!” said Drama Club officer Abby Hern after getting a visit from Dracula as she donated. “I think the ballet, opera and orchestra can be an interesting blend as long as it’s done right and people enjoy it.”

“This classic tale is the perfect setting for a story ballet in the haunting month of October,” said DPAA Promotions Manager Sherry Wells. “The full artistic force of the DPAA comes together for an evening of drama and beauty perfect for the autumn season.”

Dracula also visited Elizabeth Koerner, also a member of the Drama Club, and a first-time blood donor. “It always seemed like something I should do,” said Elizabeth.

Dracula also posed with the Student Congress volunteers and advisor Kathy Baker as they received the Community Blood Center Red Cord Honor School award from CBC’s Cora Johnson.  The volunteers stocked the Donor Café with extra refreshments and handed out t-shirts and Dracula: Bloodlines vouchers.

“They have to work during their lunches for two days to get sign-ups for the blood drive,” said Kathy. “They set-up, get everything reserved and get things organized, and sign-up to work part of the day today.”

Count Dracula was a cordial guest who resisted any urges to take a bite out of the collections for the day.  The blood drive totaled 66 donors, including 32 first-time donors and 51 donations for 102 percent of the collection goal.

Vandalia Butler HS Red Cord 2018-19