Alpha Kappa Psi To Host Blood Drive In Honor Of Former Brother Neil Patel November 14
Penn State business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi will host its semi-annual blood drive to honor Neil Patel, a sixth-semester Schreyer Honors College student who died in August 2021 after battling COVID-19.
The blood drive will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14, in Alumni Hall at the HUB. The event marks the third year that Alpha Kappa Psi has partnered with the NeilStrong Foundation to host the Red Cross blood drive, an event that allows students to “create a ripple” by donating blood.
Since Patel passed away, the NeilStrong Foundation has spearheaded on-campus initiatives to ensure Patel’s legacy of giving back to others.
“It’s not just about a blood drive. A college student should start a journey to participate in giving back,” Patel’s father, Chet, said. “[The blood drive] is a way to encourage young people to give back to their communities, to make an impact.”
According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the United States requires blood for a surgery, treatment, or transfusion. As a result, blood supply in the U.S. remains a pressing issue and one that students can aid in supporting through sponsored blood drives. Patel’s family hopes students learn that donation doesn’t take much time and is needed everywhere.
Patel’s surgery required a significant amount of donated blood as he battled COVID-19 two years ago. His blood type was B+, which the family turned into “Be Positive,” a message they want to push forward to encourage others to donate.
“The blood drives at Penn State serve as a roadmap to other universities and schools,” Patel’s aunt Nita said.
With the help and support of the Penn State student body, the foundation plans to continue honoring Patel’s selflessness and continue to create ripples, each one extending further than the last.
“To create a ripple is to do good while inspiring others in the process. [Neil was] someone who could light up a room with his infectious smile and quick wit, whose breadth of knowledge spanned practically every discipline, making each conversation unique and full of twists and turns,” Patel’s fraternity brother and friend Rayhan Rahman said.
Patel’s friends and family created the Neil Patel Memorial Award, presented each year at THON, to honor someone who leaves a positive ripple wherever they go. Last year’s award winner, Ritika Nagpal, said the impact Patel had on her was unmeasurable.
“Neil was a finance committee member his freshman and sophomore year, as was I, and we always talked about becoming captains together,” Nagpal said. “I have always said he is a huge reason as to why I THON and why I applied to become a captain my junior and senior years.”
The once-in-a-lifetime personality of Patel lives through his friends, family, and community of change makers, and his impact on others is still prevalent through the initiatives of the NeilStrong Foundation.
“Neil was exceptional in many ways. Whether it was being elected his high school class president, winning case competitions or mastering multiple instruments, he always remained humble and was someone who would go out of the way to help others succeed,” Rahil Mehta said.
Patel’s father described the “pay it forward factor” as a crucial characteristic that distinguishes Penn State as a community that searches for opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. He urged students to consider giving blood as a ripple that will begin a commitment to giving back and creating change.
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