March 18, 2019

RICHMOND, Indiana - Donors marveled at the real-life Spider-Man darting around the seventh annual "Super Cooper's 7" blood drive in memory of Cooper Newton Saturday, March 16 at St. Paul's Lutheran Church.  The Newton family chose "super heroes" for the birthday party theme as a fitting way to celebrate Cooper's life and thank donors for being real-life heroes.

Cooper was just seven months old when he died in 2012 from complications related to Noonan syndrome.  His parents Clinton and Beth Newton first hosted a blood drive with Community Blood Center in celebration of Cooper's first "heavenly birthday" in 2013. Saturday's blood drive marked his seventh birthday with the "Super Cooper 7's" theme.

Saturday's blood drive totaled 49 donors and 41 donations for 100 percent of the collection goal.  The family wore red matching t-shirts with "The Incredibles" super hero family on the front and gave away "Incredibles" masks in the Donor Café.

Children and donors posed for pictures with Andy Floyd in his custom-made Spider-Man outfit.

"I wear it to fundraisers, Relay For Life and Children's Hospital," said Andy. "I work with Beth and when I heard about the super hero theme I offered to help."

Beth is a vice president at West End Bank in Richmond, which holds a "Jeans Day" employee fundraiser to support the blood drive and to contribute to a scholarship fund with the Wayne County Foundation.

"This is the first year we're able to do a scholarship," said Beth. "The boys (sons Gavin and Gunnar) are going to present the $400 to the recipient.   We're hoping for it to grow larger.  Clint and I will be selecting the student. We've kept it pretty open.  They just have to meet the Western Wayne Dollars for Scholars program criteria."

Beth serves as coordinator of two annual community blood drives hosted by St. Paul's.  The blood drive in memory of Cooper continues to grow thanks to the dedication of the Newton family, their friends and co-workers.

Lacole Fleagle and her husband Marcus had help from Beth when they adopted their son Granger as newborn. Granger, now age four, played with Spider-Man as Lacole donated.

Centerville donor Doug Eliason made his 229th lifetime donation Saturday.   The Cooper Newton blood drive is always on his schedule. "I'm a farmer," said Doug. "I can get away. I'm a blood donor and I know Beth. I don't like to miss an appointment."

"I've been coming to Cooper's blood drive every year but have only been able to give one time," said Debbi Garrison. "I usually can't give, so I was really excited to give today!"