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Parkway Plaza Blood Drive proves successful

American Red Cross Account Manager/Donor Recruiter Kyle Jensen, left, smiles alongside kwELITE Broker/Owner Renee Mueller on March 14th outside the Darlene Memorial Conference Room near the conclusion of the Parkway Plaza Blood Drive.

Going above and beyond for the community stretches far beyond buying and selling properties for the team at kwELITE Real Estate. 

That proved true once again on the afternoon of Monday, March 14th, as the Darlene Memorial Memorial Conference Room in kwELITE’s office hosted Parkway Plaza’s first-ever blood drive. The effort was in honor of local fighter Violet, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 6.  

The drive saw staff from the businesses in Parkway Plaza and multiple community members show up to donate blood to the American Red Cross. Red blood cells have a short shelf life – they only last for six weeks (42 days). So there is always a need, according to American Red Cross Account Manager/Donor Recruiter Kyle Jensen, who added sometimes drives haven’t happened in the past due to weather, staffing or COVID issues, among other things

“It went well. It’s definitely nice to have it at a new location and the support,” Jensen said of the Parkway Plaza drive, noting donations go all across the country for cancer patients, blood disorders, surgeries and more – wherever there’s a need.

For kwELITE Broker/Owner Renee Mueller, the blood drive was personal. She said she knows many families affected by childhood cancer and how blood donations can go a long way, noting Sammy’s Superheroes Foundation. Sammy’s is a local nonprofit whose mission is to raise awareness and fund life-saving research for all types of childhood cancer. Sammy’s mission, and knowing her dear late friend and former kwELITE Realtor Darlene Cepel’s support of it, further inspired her.

“In a community this size, being so small, the fact that I know at least half-a-dozen families here who have been impacted by childhood cancer, two of whom are in my own family, it is definitely something I feel strongly about getting behind, hence donating to Sammy’s on a regular basis… Dar  felt the same way,” Mueller said. 

“Watching a child go through the treatment is excruciating – two family members and one of our agents, as well as one of my husband’s good friends who lost his daughter to childhood cancer last year, it’s excruciating to watch. And as with anything else, I cannot just stand by and do nothing.”

Many realtors and staff members of kwELITE were among the many who donated blood, including Realtor Erin Nahorny. 

“It saves three lives with one donation.” Nahorny said after donating. “I encourage everyone to try. It’s usually an easy process and it saves lives.”

Nahorny was one of the founders of Sammy’s Superheroes after her son was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and she learned only 4% of federal cancer research was allocated to children. She realized then with the need for blood transfusions just how important donations are, and she’s happy the kw team makes time to give back to the community in various ways like the blood drive.

“I appreciate how kw staff embraces those things,” Nahorny said. “We’re working with local businesses and local community members all the time, so it’s just good to be involved in community events, especially events with causes that are so important.”

Fellow kw Realtor Erica Zywiec was one of three people who gave blood for the first time Monday. She said she’s happy to support a good cause and hopes it inspires others who haven’t donated blood before to give it a try.

“It went great – super easy. It went quick,” she said, noting she was a little nervous about it prior to doing it. “You can’t preach things if you don’t do them yourself, so if it helps give someone else the courage to do it and they haven’t done it before, then, ‘why not?’”

The Parkway Plaza Blood Drive had 21 registered donors and collected 20 pints of whole blood, Jensen said, noting it could potentially impact 60 lives.

All people who donate blood by March 31st get a $10 Fanatics e-gift card and a chance at a trip to the MLB All-Star Game. 

If you’d like to donate blood, visit and search for an upcoming drive in the area.
To schedule a drive at your business, contact Jensen at

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