Blood drive honors former KDPS officer
KALAMAZOO, Mich. —
The Red Cross accepted donations of a different kind this Christmas Eve.
They held their annual holiday blood drive at the Radisson Hotel in Kalamazoo to increase their supply, but also to remember Lisa Zuk, a very special and courageous Kalamazoo Public Safety officer who was an avid blood donor herself.
Zuk served 14 years as a public safety officer for the City of Kalamazoo. Officer Scott Brooks worked alongside Zuk for 11 years, and was actually trained on the job by Zuk.
"Her being a k-9 handler she was always there to help out," said Brooks.
Zuk wanted to be a K-9 officer at a young age, according to her father, Michael Moore.
"She said to me, 'You know dad, I think I want to be a k-9 officer for the city of Kalamazoo,'” said Moore. “I've always said she's one of the luckiest people I've ever known, she knew what she wanted to do at the age of 12, and she got the opportunity to do it.”
She loved to serve, and that's why Lisa began giving blood regularly. Then, in 2013 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was on the receiving end of blood donations.
“She was a fighter, the whole way through. She was determined to not let the cancer beat her,” said Brooks.
“Lisa was an avid blood donor,” said Moore. “The products she received during treatment wouldn't be possible without people donating blood.”
"Their daughter's life was extended because of the blood," said Jane Emanuel of the Red Cross.
Now, the annual holiday blood drive put on by the red cross is held in her honor. and Emanuel says it's one of the biggest, and most important blood drives of the year.
"Last year we had about 175 pints of blood, and this year we anticipate on having 200 or more," said Emanuel.
The Red Cross is always looking for blood donations, but especially during the holiday season when people have busy schedules, and may not have time to donate, the Red Cross depends on blood drives like this to keep their supplies up. Each donation has the potential to save three lives.
"It's separated into red blood cells, platelets, and plasma, and those 3 different parts go to different patients for different conditions," said Emanuel.
Several of Lisa’s family members show up every year, including her father Michael, mother Linda.
“I used to save my one blood donation a year, I'd always make sure I could be here for the Christmas Eve one. And for this one to be in her honor after all that, it's extra special,” said Moore. “Around this time of year, it's a tough time, every year it gets a little easier to deal with. We appreciate the support that everybody’s showing her, and the Red Cross."