Anaheim PD blood drive and bone marrow registry deemed a royal success


Even the queen showed up.

Well, technically, this particular queen (Julianne Ruck) regularly reigns at Medieval Times, the dinner theater in Buena Park.

Still, the queen and an accompanying knight (Anthony Zamora) helped make the Anaheim PD’s recent “Cops 4 A-Cure” blood and bone marrow registry drive a royal success.

The six-hour event, held April 12 in and around the Anaheim Public Library, which is adjacent to APD headquarters on Harbor Boulevard, raised more than $12,000 dollars for City of Hope’s Pediatrics Oncology Unit, said Sgt. Danny Gonzalez, event organizer.

Julianne Ruck and Anthony Zamora of Medieval Times in Buena Park take a DNA swab from the inside of their cheeks as they sign up to be put on the list of bone marrow donors as Anaheim PD and City of Hope team up to host the “Cops 4 A-Cure” Bone Marrow and Blood Drive at Anaheim Central Library on April 12.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“Our goals were to raise awareness and get people to join the Be the Match registry,” said Gonzalez, who runs the APD’s Central District Community Policing Team. “We also wanted to get blood for cancer patients in need and raise money for the Pediatric Oncology Unit.”

Medieval Times, which donated show tickets and other items valued at $300, was among several donors for a raffle that raised the $12,000-plus.

Other raffle prizes include a 50” Vizio Smart TV, Anaheim Angels suite tickets, free nightly stays at hotels, VIP tickets to a House of Blues concert, tickets to Universal Studios, autographed Angels and Ducks memorabilia, and more.

Anaheim PD Officer Chad Cummings gets set up for his blood donation by Adrianne Butler of City of Hope in the basement of Anaheim’s Central Library during the April 12 blood and bone marrow drive.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

All proceeds went to City of Hope’s Pediatric Oncology Unit for patient care.

Last year, Gonzalez staged the APD’s first “Cops 4 A-Cure,” event, a bone marrow registry drive for Sgt. Jorge Chavez of the LASD, who is battling leukemia.

This year, Gonzalez added the blood-drive component to the event.

By the end of the day, 128 people donated a unit of blood each and 33 people provided a swab and joined the Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry, Gonzales said.

“This was a great opportunity for the community to come together to assist the City of Hope with their mission of saving lives,” Gonzalez said.

Nathan Pool of Long Beach takes forms to fill out before donating blood from Christina Curiel of City of Hope.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Among the blood donors was Blanca Rocha, an Anaheim resident and a referral coordinator at a health care facility in Yorba Linda.

Rocha comes to the Anaheim Public Library often and heard about the event while there.

“I do it just because I know that blood is needed and I have the opportunity to donate,” said Rocha, eating Chips Ahoy mini-cookies and Cheetos and drinking orange juice after giving blood.

“It doesn’t hurt — just a tiny pinch,” Rocha said. “You’re uncomfortable for maybe five seconds, then you relax and get snacks.”

Participants in the April 12 blood and bone marrow registry drive received a free barbecue lunch and entry into the raffle.

People also could show up and just buy raffle tickets and/or food.

Joe Otero, an active community member in Anaheim who heard about the blood drive through Neighborhood Watch, smiles as Margaret Williams, an LVN from the City of Hope, sets him up for the donation.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Maryann Mecke, a volunteer for the APD, escorted people to and from the blood donation area in the library.

“City of Hope is an outreach for everybody,” Mecke said. “As a police department, we care about people. So do the people at City of Hope. We’re uniting with them and we’re very excited about this. The donated prizes are wonderful, there’s a free lunch — everything you could possibly want.”

APD gang investigator Rudy Valdez came in before his night shift to donate blood.

“I’m doing it to support (Gonzalez) — he asked me to donate blood and told me what the cause was,” Valdez said. “It sounded like a good organization, so I’m going to do anything I can to support the cause.”

Rachel Rolnicki, a field representative for Congressman Lou Correa, showed up at the event to present Gonzalez with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition.

Rolnicki also joined the Be the Match registry.

David Alvarez, an electrical designer for the City of Anaheim, donates blood under the watchful eye of Vianca Miranda of City of Hope.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“Congressman Correa heard about the event and wanted to make sure the Anaheim Police Department and all the good people at the City of Hope and other organizations involved in putting this event together were acknowledged for all their hard work,” Rolnicki said.

Carlos Becerra, 19, works for the Anaheim Elementary School District as a playground supervisor at Olive Street Elementary.

Becerra’s aunt died two years ago from breast cancer and his grandfather is in treatment for prostate cancer.

Becerra donated blood and signed up for the Be the Match registry.

”I really don’t like needles,” he said, “but this is a great cause.”

For more information about the Be The Match registry, click here.

Sgt. Danny Gonzalez (left) and other Anaheim PD and City of Hope personnel at the event. Photo courtesy of Sgt. Danny Gonzalez