After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005 the rest of the country was looking for ways to help. However, Sanibel and Captiva has already experienced Hurricane Charley leaving many stretched thin. That is when Captiva resident Queenie Vilglione decided the only thing left to give was blood.
"I come from a family history of blood donors," she said. "My dad is a regular blood donor and my Uncle Orie was a war correspondent in World War II who began donating blood on the battle lines."
Vilglione said that experience prompted her uncle to donate blood for the rest of his years. With those two examples in her life, Vilglione started donating her blood more than 30 years ago. In 2005 Vilgione, the owner and maker of Queenie's Ice Cream, paired up with Bailey's General Store to host "give us a pint and we'll give you back two pints" blood drive.
Queenie Vilglione, owner and maker of Queenie's ice cream, donates blood at Lee Memorial Blood Center's new location on Summerlin Road. She has teamed up with Bailey's General Store to co-host a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 29 in Bailey's Shopping Center's parking lot. Anyone who donates – or attempts to donate – blood at the Lee Memorial Blood Mobile that day will be rewarded with a coupon for two free pints of Queenie's ice cream, redeemable at Bailiey's General Store.
Twice a year from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 29 and the Friday after Thanksgiving the Lee Memorial Bloodmobile rolls into Bailey's parking lot. Anyone who donates or even attempts to donate receives a coupon for two free pints of Queenie's Ice Cream, redeemable at Bailey's only.
"Logically when I suggested to Richard Johnson (of Bailey's General Store) that we have the bloodmobile in his parking lot twice a year, I though we should really reward our donors," said Vilglione, who hopes to attract more donors each time until the bloodmobile is parked long past its scheduled time to leave.
The blood drive usually has approximately 24 donors during the summer and more than 30 in November. While Vilglione would like to see her blood drive grow, she would also like to see local businesses hosting the bloodmobile in their parking lots.
What: Give a pint, get two pints blood drive
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 29
Where: Bailey's General Store parking lot
"My good friend BJ Hickey, who owns Great Licks Ice Cream in Matlacha, has a blood drive in front of his place about four times a year now," Vilglione said. "Those donors leave with a coupon for free Queenie's ice cream, too."
"Some of the things I love about donating blood," explained Vilglione, "it's free; you get to lay on a comfy recliner in the middle of your day; no heavy lifting for the rest of the day; and they feed you snacks."