From left: Rory O’Brien, district manager for two stores each in Rome and Utica, Cortni Coffin, Herkimer store manager, Melissa Hopkins, store manager in Washington Mills, Oneida Square and Utica stores, Shannon Gardner, shift leader at Herkimer store, Andria De Lisle-Heath, Red Cross executive director, and Andrew Schrader, district manager.

David Robinson of the Herkimer, NY, Evening Telegram reports that Dunkin’ Brands District Manager Andrew Schrader, like so many other people, never really stopped to think about what it takes for the American Red Cross to help the community.

That is, until he became the one that needed the organization to save his son.

Schrader, of Ilion, learned last year that his 1-year-old son Will had acute myeloid leukemia.

Will’s treatment required frequent blood transfusions, which are made possible in large part by donor drives for the Red Cross.
Wanting to be active in his son’s, and other people’s, treatment, Schrader helped organize a blood drive at Annunciation Church in Ilion. Benefiting Will and Jesse Schofield, a 7-year-old Ilion boy also battling cancer, the drive was held in January and raised well over its donor goal.

\Andrew said Will has since completed the six-month treatment regiment and is doing much better thanks to the life saving efforts of so many generous donors. “You don’t realize how important these blood drives are,” he said, “the lives you save just from giving a little bit of your time.”

The experience ultimately motivated him to remain involved in the efforts of the American Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley chapter. And when he learned that the chapter was in danger of exhausting its disaster relief funds, Schrader, who is a district manager with Dunkin’ Donuts, decided to once again get active.

Along with several Dunkin’ Donuts franchise owners, he decided to place a collection cup for the local chapter of the Red Cross at the counter and drive-thru windows.

In less than one month, from March 6 to 31, the 10 participating Dunkin’ Donuts between Herkimer and Oneida counties raised just under $3,000. The collection drive is ongoing and is expected to continue indefinitely, Schrader said. Andria De Lisle-Heath, the local Red Cross chapter executive director, said the funds brought the disaster relief budget back from the brink.
“As of Feb. 28, we were $422 away from spending 100 percent of our disaster budget we expect to dispense through June 30,” De Lisle-Heath said.

Without further donations the chapter would have had to cover March, April, May and June with no disaster budget, she added.
The situation was a caused by a year that has seen a major spike in fires and other demands for disaster services, and only showed how many people rely upon the funds that support the program.

26 Dunkin Donut franchise locations in the region are raising funds for six American Red Cross chapters. There are two sites in Herkimer, one site in the village of Ilion, four sites in the city of Utica, two sites in the town of New Hartford and one in the town of Whitesboro.

Read More at: Evening Telegram