Bucks County dad honors late wife with annual Valentine's Day blood drive

WARMINSTER, Pa. (WPVI) -- "I really can't even put in words what it means to give blood right now," said Michael Greenberg.

He learned about the crucial need for blood, plasma, and platelet donations even before the COVID-19 pandemic with the passing of his wife, Alison Burns-Greenberg.

After a sudden diagnosis of leukemia, Alison fought courageously for a year and a half. She was just weeks away from her 40th birthday when she passed away in September of 2019.

"It feels like yesterday that I lost Alison, but it feels like years since I heard her voice, or you know hugged her or went out to dinner with her," said Michael.

Alison was a Disney fanatic and enjoyed frequent trips to Disney World with her husband and two children. She was also fond of Valentine's Day, a holiday that has taken on a new meaning for her husband.

"I mean, what better way to celebrate a love day than to give blood," Michael said.

Friends and family agreed. Even on a frigid and icy day during a pandemic, every blood donation station was occupied. The local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6493 donated their space while the American Red Cross dispatched its volunteers to collect blood.

"This has become a Valentine's Day tradition for us," said Bill Mazen from Warminster, Pennsylvania. "We'll probably do it forever from now on because we want to help people."

Their donations will go a long way.

"One person can help out three people," Michael Greenberg said. "So, I felt that, instead of donating money or anything, that giving blood would be a good way to give back to the people who really need the blood."

People like Alison, who are fighting cancers like leukemia, may need to use that blood every day.

"She went through it for a year and a half and every time she got chemo, she would need transfusions," Michael recalled. "I mean, it can be like every other day. It could have been two, three times a day."

That's why giving blood has become a cornerstone of Michael's new way of life even beyond Valentine's Day.

"Giving blood is one thing that I will consistently do every 56 days as long as I live," he said. "She would be proud."

To learn more about giving blood, visit the American Red Cross website.

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