In order to promote awareness of the upcoming 16th Annual Okeechobee Blood Roundup to be held at the Freshman Campus Auditorium on Nov. 20 and 21, we share stories of local Okeechobee folks who have received donations of blood and the difference it made in their lives.
Frank Coker is employed by SFWMD as Chief Operator and he oversees the pump stations on the north shore of Lake Okeechobee. He once was employed as program specialist for Okeechobee County Parks and Recreation Department. Frank has an unselfish need to help others and one act to fulfill that need is to donate his platelets every two weeks. He is proud to report that he has reached the 35-gallon mark with his goal being 100 gallons. Platelets hold a unique power to save lives. Cancer patients are a primary recipient of platelets due to the harsh effects of chemotherapy so platelets are always in high demand. Unfortunately, platelets have a shelf life of only five days, so frequent donors like Frank are very much appreciated.
OneBlood has a program titled My OneBlood Journey where every donor receives an email telling them where their blood is going and to which hospital. Frank gets an email every two weeks and he began identifying the locations with pushpins on a map of Florida. Frank’s donated platelets have gone to people needing them in Orlando, Tampa, Melbourne, West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale just to name a few of the locations. Frank’s goal of 100 gallons may require a larger map or smaller pushpins.
For Frank, every donation is personal because he donates to keep the memory of his son, Michael, alive. Sadly, Michael passed away in 2015 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident in Stuart. Frank usually goes to the OneBlood donation center in Stuart because it is near the place where his son died. The act of donating his platelets allows Frank to find comfort knowing he is helping others and honoring his son at the same time. Frank has already scheduled his appointment to donate platelets at the Okeechobee Blood Roundup and wants to encourage others to donate their blood or platelets. You can make an appointment on line at OneBlood.org or call 1-888-9-DONATE.
Please thank Frank for sharing his story by donating the gift of life – your blood – at the 16th Annual Okeechobee Blood Roundup on Nov. 20 and 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Freshman Campus Auditorium. All blood donors will receive a commemorative Roundup T-shirt and the FIRST 200 donors will receive a goody bag donated by The Hoskins-Turco Law Office.