Virginia Blood Services will hold the Fifth Annual “Live to Give” community blood drive to honor the memories of Lauren Tuck, Avery Spence, Gage Edwards, Tyler Patnaude, and Mark Talley, May 12, from noon to seven at Clover Hill Assembly of God, 12310 Bailey Bridge Road.
This annual drive began in 2012 and is organized by families to honor the memory of their children. The month of May is significant to each of the families and they have elected to hold this event on Lauren’s birthday, May 14. Lauren would be twenty-six this year. May 1 marks the fifth anniversary of Avery’s accident. And the mothers of Gage, Mark, and Tyler all have birthdays in May. All of the families agree that being together with so many friends and family, in memory of their children for such a great cause makes for a very uplifting and heartwarming day.
These beloved students all attended high school in Chesterfield County and were known among their peers as giving, friendly, and loving.
Lauren Tuck was a student at Liberty University and an exceptional employee at Kids R Kids. “Lauren had a real gift with children and a plan and passion to open her own preschool,” recalls Lauren’s coworkers.
Avery Spence was an elite level athlete and played eighteen seasons with the Richmond Kickers youth soccer club. She was enrolled at Virginia Tech and gave many hours to community organizations. She is remembered by a teammate and longtime friend as “…the first in line to volunteer! She never felt obligated or complained about giving up her time. She genuinely enjoyed giving back and helping others.”
Gage Edwards was outgoing and very active in many school and community events including student mentoring, roller-hockey and track and field. “Gage had an infectious spirit that touched everyone who knew him. He will never be forgotten.” said a close family friend. Gage was among the Manchester High School students who ran the Susan G Komen 5k in Avery’s place after her accident.
Always smiling, Tyler Patnaude was a passionate and competitive sailor. Friends say, “He always wanted me to go sailing.” A summer sailing instructor at GRSA and employee at the Children’s Museum of Richmond, he enjoyed playing tennis and being with people young and old and was said to be “a friend to all.”
Mark Talley was known for his beautiful smile and being a very dependable young man. He was described as a typical “redneck” who loved to hunt, fish, and drive his ATV through any mud puddle he could find. He worked for OTG and helped his dad with tree jobs on the side.
The organizers look forward to another great show of support, and hope the way these children lived their lives will inspire others to “Live to Give.” A Virginia Blood Services spokesperson commented that this blood drive has proven to be the largest non-corporate event held all year, expecting to collect more than 200 blood donations in a single day. What began as a way to honor and remember special people, while meeting the very real and specific needs of area hospitals, has evolved into something much more, as this event seems to have taken on a life of its own. Friends, family and the community at large schedule appointments in advance but walk-ins are also accommodated. VBS allocates all available personnel to the event and area businesses respond with food and beverages throughout the day to contribute to the upbeat and positive atmosphere.
To participate, please contact the family to
make an appointment. To donate in memory of:
Lauren, contact Mary Tuck at 804-426-9584
Avery, contact Carolyn Spence at 804-240-5526
Gage, contact Laurie Edwards at 804-641-7266
Mark, contact Tammy Talley at 804-914-8269
Tyler, contact Yvonne Patnaude at 214-906-1361
Virginia Blood Services is a non-profit community blood bank and we count on the good-hearted, giving nature of our donors to help support those patients in need. Just one blood donation can have an impact on the lives of three patients in area hospitals and that’s why drives like this are so important. I am blessed to work with these amazing families and share this day with them.” said Michelle Humphrey, account manager from Virginia Blood Services. All Donors must present a valid ID or VBS donor card at registration. For a list of accepted ID’s and to learn more about the work of Virginia Blood Services, visit www.vablood.org or call 1-800-989-4438.