Hosting multiple blood drives means potentially saving the lives of 500 people each year. That’s why Megan Boone Valkenburg has been honored with the Giving Life Hero Award by the American Red Cross of Northeast Pennsylvania. Boone Valkenburg, coordinator for civic engagement at Wilkes University, plans and promotes five blood drives each year at the University. In four years, her efforts have amassed more than 517 units of blood.
The Give Life Hero award is presented annually by the American Red Cross of Northeast Pennsylvania to an individual whose commitment to blood and platelet donation plays a significant role in ensuring the health of patients in the community and throughout the country.
“Megan’s commitment to the life-saving collection of blood at Wilkes University is more than worthy of celebration, and we are humbled to honor her with this award,” reads the award letter from the American Red Cross of Northeast Pennsylvania.
“Planning and hosting blood drives is something that is very important to me. My mother had leukemia and we lost her 13 years ago. Blood and blood products were critical to her treatment,” said Boone Valkenburg during her acceptance. “I think, like many others who are impacted by the need for blood, I have that perspective in my history. Encouraging members of the Wilkes community to be part of the solution and having them be part of someone’s recovery is very noble.”
Boone Valkenburg was honored during the organization’s telethon that aired on YouTube and Blue Ridge Cable channel 13 on Sunday, March 20. A video highlighting Boone Valkenburg’s service, featuring Pennsylvania State Senator Mario Scavello, can be viewed here.
Boone Valkenburg joined Wilkes University in 2005 as the AmeriCorpsVISTA. Since 2007, she has served as the coordinator for civic engagement where she plans and promotes service-related student activities. This includes alternative spring break experiences, “Into the Parks” which encourages service at area parks and playgrounds and the annual campus-wide day of service, The Big Event. She also assists with Be the Match bone-marrow donor registry drives and oversees the Reading Buddies program in partnership with Wilkes AmeriCorps VISTA, Monica Morrison. The Reading Buddies Program is designed to enhance primary-level reading skills of children in the Wilkes-Barre area. Under her leadership, Wilkes students, staff and faculty contribute more than 200,000 hours of service in 100 local agencies and programs during a typical year.
Boone Valkenburg has a master’s degree in counseling and college student personnel from Shippensburg University and is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and her MBA from Wilkes University.