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Polly Corsino of Peoria, blood drive coordinator and 8-time donor, has been announced the winner of a 2022 VW Taos, donated by the Valley Volkswagen dealers to help increase summer blood supplies. Her name was randomly drawn from among the 467 volunteer coordinators who achieved their blood drive goal May 27 – Sept. 9, one of the 10 finalist categories in the Vitalant “Summer Drive to Save Lives” Volkswagen raffle. Corsino garnered her spot in the ceremony after coordinating the blood drive at the Sun City Visitors Center on June 16, recruiting 33 summer blood donors and exceeding her goal by 10%. The 10 finalists gathered on Oct. 12 for the grand prize ceremony at Vitalant’s Arizona headquarters in Tempe. In a Deal or No Deal game show format, case #4 turned out to be Corsino’s lucky number at the grand prize ceremony. She was stunned when she felt the humming of the engine before she even heard the sound. “I never expected this would happen and arrived at the ceremony just so grateful for the opportunity and excited to meet the winner,” she said. At the Vitalant ceremony, she was also grateful to learn that the red blood cells from her last donation went to help save a 59-year-old woman at a Valley hospital who was vomiting blood, caused by bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
May 27 - June 30 Finalist: Bryan Woody (Chandler)
May 28 Whole Blood, Chandler Donor Center (14-time donor)
Thirteen-time donor Bryan Woody gave blood for the first time in March of 2020. He had planned a trip to Houston with some friends, but it was abruptly cancelled at the beginning COVID-19 pandemic. With the country shut down except for essential activities like donating blood, he had extra time on his hands. He had read about the urgent need for donors and quickly signed up to give at the Arizona Cardinals’ blood drive. Always a sports fan, the day started out great for Bryan the team president Michael Bidwill parked right next to him. That was the beginning of a new passion for Bryan; he has been donating at the Chandler Donor Center every eight weeks throughout the pandemic. “I like feeling like I am helping someone – you’re doing something good,” reflected Bryan. “And I love the lemon-lime canned Gatorade at Vitalant!” Bryan works as a document control specialist for a medical device manufacturing company.
Special Event Finalist: Athena Timiney (Peoria)
July 2 Saving Arizona Blood Drive (1-time donor)
Giving blood is a privilege for Athena Timiney. She had always wanted to be a blood donor but was too tiny when she was younger. When she finally weighed enough, lupus, then cancer, prevented her from being able donate. She learned first-hand how important it is to always have blood available. Five years ago, blood transfusions helped Athena’s mother stay alive after a cardiac procedure, giving them precious time together during her mom’s final days. Just two years later, her husband required blood transfusions when his leg was amputated because of a severe infection. When Athena learned that she had AB-positive blood and was the universal plasma donor, her commitment as a donor became even stronger. “Knowing that I have a rare blood type (3% of the population), I want to donate so it is available to other people who need it,” she said. Athena is also excited at the prospect of winning a new Volkswagen, as her vehicle is more than 15 years old.
July 1 – Aug. 5 Finalist: Tatiana Rosado (Phoenix)
July 8 Platelet/Red Cell, Glendale Donor Center (8-time donor)
Tatiana Rosado had always wanted to help people, so when Vitalant came to her high School, she was anxious to sign up to donate. After her first donation, she recruited her mom and fiancé to join her, so now they go to the donor center to give blood together. When Tatiana was born, her mom had placenta accreta and lost six pints of blood and almost needed transfusions, so she is very grateful to be a donor. Tatiana is attending Grand Canyon University and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She doesn’t have a car right now, so winning the VW Taos would enable her to go out, explore and travel!
Aug. 6 – Sept. 9 Finalist: Lupe McCulley (Chandler)
August 30 Whole Blood, City of Chandler Blood Drive (16-time donor)
Lupe McCulley gave blood for the first time when she was in high school. In 1995, she moved from California to Arizona and resumed donating at work with the City of Chandler. She has a special reason for being such a dedicated donor - Lupe’s husband is a disabled veteran. “He was in the Army during Desert Storm. He was blown out of a tank, shot and stabbed,” said Lupe. “He needed blood when he was injured, so it is nice to give back.” Lupe and her husband two daughters, four dogs and a 20-year-old vehicle, so the VW Taos would be a great addition to their family.
Blood Drive Power Donor Finalist: Trey Clark (Goodyear)
August 25 Power Red, Sub-Zero Blood Drive (1st time Vitalant donor)
Trey Clark knows first-hand it is better to give than to receive. Four years ago, he was hit head-on by a drunk driver. The 85 mile per hour impact broke both of his legs, among other injuries. During his 3-year recovery, he underwent 13 surgeries and coded three times. “I wouldn’t be here right now if it weren’t for the blood transfusions,” Trey reflected. “Honestly, that makes me feel so thankful.” The first time Trey donated blood, he went back to the hospital that saved him to give at their blood drive. Trey is married, has an 18-month-old son and works as a metal fabricator. The timing of the Volkswagen grand prize ceremony couldn’t be better for Trey, as he and his wife were going to start car shopping.
Donor Center MAX Donor Finalist: David Alvarado (Maricopa)
August 9 Power Red, Chandler Donor Center (5-time donor)
David Alvarado’s mom was a regular blood donor and encouraged him to follow in her footsteps. She told him how he could help someone and about the many health benefits of donating blood. He had heard stories of people who were saved by blood transfusions, so once he knew the big picture, he was anxious to roll up his sleeve and donate. He also remembered his co-worker at the airport who needed numerous blood transfusions when he shattered his leg falling from a plane on the tarmac. “It is enough for me to know that I am helping someone,” said David. “If I won the car, that is a blessing in disguise.” If he is the person awarded the VW at the grand prize ceremony, he plans to give it to his wife, who commutes from Maricopa to Chandler for work.
Teen Donor Finalist: Casey Boudreau (Gilbert)
August 26 Power Red, Campo Verde High School Blood Drive
The first time Casey Boudreau gave blood, it was because his friend wanted to earn extra credit by recruiting donors for their high school blood drive. But then, after he donated, Casey found out he was O-negative, the universal blood type. “It feels great to know that I can help people that absolutely need help,” said Casey. “Getting out of class is a nice break from school, but I also want to help people.” Before his Aug. 26 donation at Campo Verde High School, he thought about his grandfather who required blood transfusions twice. The first time was to fight anemia, but when his grandfather had internal bleeding, the hospital depleted their supply of blood to help save him. Casey thinks it would be awesome to win a new Volkswagen. “The car I am learning to drive on is older than me!”
Goal-Making Blood Drive Coordinator Finalist: Polly Corsino (Peoria)
June 16 Sun City Visitors Center Blood Drive
(110% of Goal & 8-time donor)
Polly Corsino has been the blood drive coordinator for the Sun City Visitors Center for seven years. She has an awesome group of residents who have been donating there for years. She says they make her job easy because their community wants this blood drive. “It is a wonderful feeling to put this blood drive together,” says Polly. “Our people are so good – they volunteer, call donors and work the blood drive.” Polly is also a dedicated blood donor. “My dad had a heart transplant in 1991. Don’t forget about your loved ones – you never know who is going to need blood.”
Bonus Entry Card Online Finalist: Kevin DaCorte (Scottsdale)
July 19 Whole Blood, Christ Church of the Valley Blood Drive
Kevin DaCorte believes in paying it forward. He became a blood donor years ago, giving regularly at blood drives hosted at the Chicago car dealership where he worked in automotive repair. After moving to Arizona and retiring, he started donating at his church, where he also volunteered to help kids with special needs. “If I was a patient in need, I hope it would be there for me,” says Kevin. And it was. “I had a blood transfusion when I was born.” Kevin is a single dad and plans on attending the Volkswagen grand prize ceremony with his 15-year-old son, who is currently learning to drive. Will he pay it forward again on his son’s sweet 16?
Bonus Entry Card VW Showroom Finalist: Jesse Comfort (Chandler)
June 30 Whole Blood, Chandler Donor Center (7-time donor)
Jesse Comfort started giving blood regularly during the pandemic when he heard about the urgent need for donors. He liked being able to help people anonymously and he thought about his close family friend who passed away from cancer several years ago. “When I found out my blood type is used to help cancer patients, it reminded me of my friend and how bravely he battled his disease,” said Jesse. “If I could help support people going through what he went through by donating my blood, it could be a way to honor his memory.” In addition to giving to people in need, he is thankful for his good health and likes the gratitude he feels when he donates blood. Jesse has a 2007 VW Jetta he is fixing up for his 16-year-old daughter, and if he wins the 2022 Taos, he hopes to take some road trips with his family and their dog.
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