The Bird and the Blood Drive: One Man, One Ball, One Bird


Joe DiSipio

The Malvern Blood Drive Committee geared up for a successful 2013 Blood Drive in the weeks preceding the event. Volunteers stood outside assemblies while promoting the cause, encouraged many eligible students to sign up, and attended informational meetings with an American Red Cross representative. Even under the conscientious leadership of Dr. Fry, none of the committee members were prepared for the series of events that occurred in the early hours of February 20th.

As Malvern volunteers and Red Cross workers jointly began the setup process and prepared for a record number of donors, someone noticed an unexpected guest. Perched high in the rafters of O’Neill sat a small, scared bird that must have been seeking refuge from the blustery winds that rolled across campus. The feathered intruder must have realized Punxatawney Phil’s forecast had been wrong, because spring had definitely not come early. Trying to escape the cold, the young bird flew right through the O’Neill garage door and unintentionally began to wreak havoc upon the blood drive.

Fearing the bird’s presence might impede the success of the drive, Dr. Fry and the committee enlisted the help of John Nassib, a dodge ball, and a tennis ball. As John stalked around the gym avoiding donor tables and computers, he made sure his aim was to miss; never to hit the bird, but to scare it out the open doors. Time after time, the bird would slyly dodge the ball and rush to a new perch. As patience dwindled and the gym grew frostier, someone had to do something. That someone was Jack St. Amour, Jeff’s brother, and Jack was determined to scare this bird out and save the blood drive.

Jack’s determination must have been just a little too strong because though his aim was to scare, his aim was scary, nearly deadly. The whole room stopped and watched in slow motion as the ball left Jack’s hand. Eyes widened, breaths were held, and jaws dropped as everyone processed what happened right before their eyes. The whole situation was eerily similar to Randy Johnson’s 2001 spring training “fowl encounter.” Before you could blink, a puff of feathers and a beak-diving bird fell towards the donor equipment.

The injured bird was taken into the car of one of the Red Cross volunteers, who has probably nursed the bird back to health by now. However, poor Jack has not quite recovered.  When asked about the ordeal, he apologized, “I was just trying to hit near the bird and scare it, but after I hit it I felt awful. Honestly, I did not mean to hit the bird.”

This whole situation reminds us the sanctity of life and how in a split second a tennis ball or a severe sickness can change everything. Either way a Red Cross nurse may be the one who helps save your life. DONATE BLOOD.