Blood drive will honor best friends
COLLINGDALE When her son, Mark, and his best friend, Michael J. Taylor, were killed in 2011, Missy McNeill promised herself she would celebrate, not mourn, the boys.
"Pay it forward," she said.
On Friday, a blood drive will be held at the Collingdale Borough Hall, 800 MacDade Blvd., from 1 to 7 p.m. to commemorate the lives of the two 15-year-olds. The families started the donor drives in 2012. They are held twice a year near the boys' birthdays.
The teens were hit by a speeding car as they walked across Chester Pike in Glenolden. The driver, Maurquis Javon Thompson, 22, of Chester, was sentenced to life in prison. Michael died at the scene, Mark at the hospital.
"If he didn't get blood, we wouldn't have had those [last] 20 hours with Mark," said Missy McNeil. During that time the family was able to see Mark, hold him, and tell him they would be OK, she said.
For Eileen Taylor, Michael's mother, the drive is a way of saving a life.
"There was no chance of him being an organ donor," she said.
Those who want to donate blood can schedule an appointment by calling Missy McNeill at 610-809-5187 or visit redcrossblood.org, click on "find a blood drive," and enter either the zip code - 19023 - or the sponsor code, "Michael and Mark."
Missy McNeill also said you can have a donation from another drive credited to the teens by telling Red Cross officials the sponsor code at the time you give blood.
- Mari A. Schaefer