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Memory of Lost Patient Inspires Blood Drive Coordinator Sheri Earp to Save Lives for 50+ Years

Sheri Earp

When it comes to saving lives, it’s hard to find a coordinator more dedicated than Sheri Earp, the leader of the Pine/Strawberry community blood drive in Arizona. But it is easy to understand why she is so devoted.

In 1970, Sheri had just begun her career as a medical technician at an Arizona hospital when a young patient in her 20s was rushed into the emergency department. Sheri drew her blood in preparation for what was supposed to be an easy surgery. But the situation took a turn for the worse when the patient’s appendix ruptured. Doctors worked hard to stop the bleeding, but there just wasn’t enough blood to save her. The young woman died on the table.

“I realized what a difference blood makes and decided right then that I wanted to make certain that blood was always there,” reflected Sheri. “If something happens, there should be enough blood. It still brings tears to my eyes.”

Sheri immediately volunteered to serve on the hospital blood drive committee. Seeing an opportunity to recruit even more blood donors and bring new donors to the cause, she established a second blood drive for the surrounding medical buildings. She continued organizing the blood drives for more than 30 years during her medical career until she moved to Pine, Arizona, in 2005.

Sheri was at the library one day when she heard they were looking for a new coordinator for the Pine community blood drive and she jumped at the chance. Not only was she anxious to continue her lifesaving efforts, but serving as the blood drive coordinator also provided a great opportunity for Sheri to get to know people in her new community. And the rest is history.

Today Sheri is very well known in Pine as the “blood drive lady” and will do almost anything to ensure success. “I wasn’t able to donate myself,” said Sheri. “If I can’t donate, then I will find people who can.” When donors are needed to fill the schedule, she calls people from the phone book, introduces herself and asks if they would be willing to give blood. Each drive, she marks the stopping place in the phone book so she can pick up where she left off the next time. She goes around to the local businesses to drop off posters, ask for displays on their marquees and recruit donors. On blood drive day, you can find Sheri on the side of the main road holding a “blood donors needed” sign to help fill any open appointments. Before COVID-19, she would purchase a beautiful spread of food to say thank you to the donors after they give.

It’s volunteers like Sheri that makes her Donor Recruitment Representative Lori Hillard appreciate the hard work and commitment of blood drive coordinators everywhere. “She puts her heart and soul into being a blood drive coordinator,” said Lori. “She truly goes the extra mile to serve our lifesaving mission!”

Article published for the Vital Connections newsletter.