W.Va. man hosts blood drives to give back in memory of his wife

October 22, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Adele Knott of Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., donates blood Monday under the watchful eye of American Red Cross staffer Rebecca Meeks. Also shown is Lee Snyder, who helped organize the second annual blood drive in memory of his wife, Cynthia Snyder.
Photo by Richard Belisle

KEARNEYSVILLE, W.Va. — By the time she died in 2011 at the age of 58 from Diamond Blackfan Anemia, Cynthia Snyder had been given an estimated 500 units of blood over her lifetime, her husband said.

On Monday, Lee Snyder hosted the second blood drive in memory of his late wife, who succumbed from a rare blood disease that she had been fighting since she was 8 weeks old.

Five hospital beds that had been brought to a large room on the second floor at Snyder Environmental Services Inc., at 270 Industrial Blvd., were occupied by volunteer blood donors throughout most of the afternoon Monday, Snyder said.

Lee Snyder’s goal is to give back the 500 units through the American Red Cross that were given to his wife over the years.

He passed the halfway mark with 270 units collected by Monday’s drive.

He said he expected to reach the goal by now.

“You always think when you set about something like this that it will go faster,” he said. “But if one person’s illness took that much blood that demonstrates the need for blood. I feel that this is a good way to honor Cynthia’s memory while helping other people.”

The First Baptist Church of Martinsburg, W.Va., sponsored a blood drive in May and the Knights of Columbus at St. James Catholic Church in Charles Town, W.Va., sponsored two drives to add to the total number of units collected so far, Snyder said.

In addition, volunteers at regularly scheduled Red Cross blood drives in the area, have been donating in Cynthia’s memory, her husband said.

Family members remember her in other ways as well.

Mary Frances Sperow, Cynthia’s mother, planted a flower garden in the yard of her home in Martinsburg and marked with a stone engraved with her name and dates of her birth and death. “I held a memorial luncheon in my home on the anniversary of her death in July,” Sperow said.

Cynthia’s Sister, Anne Boarman of Martinsburg, said she gives blood at local drives in her sibling’s honor.

Lee Snyder has said that Cynthia worked hard to live a normal life despite the challenges wrought by the disease.

She taught fourth grade at Wright Denny Intermediate School in Charles Town for 10 years. After leaving teaching, she opened Cynthia’s Flowers and Gifts in Ranson, W.Va.

Employees at Snyder Environmental Services planted a dogwood tree on the front lawn of the business in Cynthia’s memory. A stone at its base exemplifies her life in four simple words: “beauty, courage, grace and love.”

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