Patti Neal was speaking to a dear friend of hers and found that her friend’s son had been diagnosed with Leukemia. Neal realized this teenage youth needed a bone marrow transplant to live. The procedure is quite expensive and all of the expense is not covered by insurance. Neal realized her friend needed help at that hour, and she set out on a campaign to raise money, awareness and find a suitable bone marrow donor.
Neal was soon referred to a newly formed organization, My Friends Care, which consisted of two women who were both in need of bone marrow transplants. Neal joined with the ladies, and they planned fundraisers and learned about the national donor list registry. The team then organized and sponsored blood drives where people could register as donors, be type tested and be put on the list as potential donors.
As a result of Neal’s ingenuity and dedication and the help of other volunteers, My Friends Care was able to grow as an organization. However, the teenager and one of the two founders passed away before a suitable donor could be found. Neal continued their efforts and raised more money and donor drives in memory of her lost friends. My Friends Care is a stronger, viable partner in the education of the public about bone marrow transplants and the support of those in need of the same.
Neal has been a part of My Friends Care since 1990. She has served as 2nd Vice Chair, Development Committee Chairperson and is currently Chairperson of the organization. Neal has raised thousands of dollars for the organization and the group puts on a Silent Auction Dinner annually to continue to raise money for the organization. The donations help others who need bone marrow transplants. Neal has also personally recruited several thousand donors to the National Marrow Program Donor Registry. After making several phone calls to the NASCAR Racing circuit, she has been able to organize donor drives at the Michigan Speedway races. There, 4,000 people have been tested in four years time. Neal organizes the drives, recruits nurses to come to take the necessary samples and encourages the race fans to become donors. My Friends Care has added 75,000 donors to the National Marrow Donor Registry.
Neal has also volunteered her time serving women through the Haven Crisis Line. In addition, she is involved in her Union’s community service activities including but not limited to the Special Olympics, St. John’s Transplant Support Group and blood drive for the American Red Cross. Neal not only gives of her time, but she also supports these causes financially and with ideas to help them function at their peak.