ANTIOCH -- An estimated 500 people turned out for Thursday's Team Matthew Blood Drive at St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, raising nearly $13,000 and donating 122 pints of blood.
The drive was organized in honor of Matthew Ouimet, a 2-year-old Antioch boy currently recovering from double-transplant surgery.
According to Jared Schultzman of the American Red Cross, 141 people registered to donate at the blood drive. There were 114 actual donations. An undetermined number of walk-ups, estimated in the dozens, had to be turned away because there was not enough time or technicians to accommodate them. It is believed many of those turned away made appointments to donate at other ARC locations.
A typical blood drive, Schultzman said, attracts 30-50 donors.
Kristi Ouimet, Matthew's mother, was with her son in ICU at UCSF Beniof Childrens Hospital and unable to attend Thursday's six-hour event. But she was given an estimated crowd count by volunteers who helped stage the festivities, which included a bake sale, bouncy house, raffles, silent auction and autograph-signing appearance by Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Kristi Ouimet also was told that close to $13,000 was raised for Children's Organ Transplant Association in honor of Matthew.
Kelly Ouimet, Matthew's father, attended the event and was one of the first to donate blood.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/garyscribe.