PGW Drafter Adam Tieri opens up about his family’s connection to Red Cross and how he’s paying it forward.

For lifelong Philly resident Adam Tieri, donating blood to the Red Cross is personal.
His father-in-law battled cancer three times. Each time meant blood transfusions, and stress and worry for the family.

“You get hit with the reality that they may not be around much longer,” says Tieri, who offered emotional support to his wife, siblings and mother-in-law through the ups and downs. “I started thinking about who else needed blood.”

The Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region of the Red Cross, which includes Philadelphia, needs to collect 1,000 units of blood every day. It’s sent to our area hospitals, and is a lifesaver for patients with certain blood-related illnesses. It’s also used for patients who experience blood loss during surgery, and trauma victims.

“A single car accident victim can need as many as 100 units of blood,” said Alana Mauger, external communications manager for Penn-Jersey Red Cross Blood Services. “At Red Cross, we also educate people on the broad need for blood. For leukemia or sickle cell patients, blood transfusions are a regular part of their treatment.”

Tieri had always thought about the trauma victim. He never considered patients who depended on a local blood supply every day, until his father-in-law fell ill.
“They’re so sick. Their color is drained and they lose so much weight,” he says. “You’d do anything to make it better.”

While Tieri wrestled with feelings of helplessness, apprehension, and uncertainty over his father-in-law’s cancer battle, he was starting a new career at Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW).

Tieri has worked for PGW going on 12 years. He started in Operations where he visited customers in their homes, fixing heating equipment. “I came in ready to dig holes, I didn’t realize how often I’d be in people’s homes; talking to them, hearing about their struggles, helping any way I could,” says Tieri. “You meet wonderful people, but they’re in bad situations.”

Working at PGW was a real eye-opener recalls Tieri. It wasn’t just his father-in-law in distress. There was someone on every block across our city with a story.

Tieri’s motivation to do more, and give back, grew. He found himself at one of the Red Cross blood drives that are regularly hosted right at PGW.

“I gave my information, made my donation, ate a pack of crackers, and I was back up to work with no problem,” says Tieri. “If I can give some time and blood so someone has a full life, sign me up.”
The Red Cross hosts three to five public drives daily in Philadelphia, including at area schools during the school year. According to Mauger, 10 Philadelphia schools hosted drives in May 2017 alone.
Come summer, the Red Cross depends more and more on corporations like PGW to meet the needs of our community.

“There is a significant need in the summer for corporations to step up, hold drives and encourage their employees to donate,” says Mauger. “Schools are out and families are vacationing, but our need remains constant at 1,000 units a day.”

PGW hosts two blood drives at its headquarters annually. In between, employees donate at area drives or blood donation centers. Our employees helped hundreds of patients in 2016 alone.

Tieri’s father-in-law has been cancer free for seven years. But he knows there’s a family out there waiting to hear good news, so he donates every eight weeks.

“There are people right now who need blood. That’s why it’s important for me to donate,” says Tieri. “It’s a wonderful thing when you hear that what you waited for has come.”

After each visit, Tieri looks out for a text message from the Red Cross notifying him when his blood is being used.

“I may be corny, but when I get the notification that my blood is being used, I feel so good,” he says. “It’s cool to know that I made a difference for someone, and their family.”
To schedule an appointment to donate, visit redcross.org or download the Red Cross Blood Donor App.