School of Nursing holds blood drive in honor of professor

Chris Wilcox
Staff writer

In support of Barbara Kearney, a Murray State assistant professor of nursing diagnosed with cancer, the Kentucky Association of Nursing Students and the School of Nursing Faculty sponsored a blood drive Feb 1.

The event held in Mason Hall was coordinated in conjunction with the Murray-Calloway County Blood Bank.

While nursing students did paperwork and took vitals, the staff of the blood bank took blood.

Kearney was diagnosed with ampullary cancer during the summer of 2011.

Ampullary cancer is a cancer that arises from the ampulla vater, a small projection into the first portion of the intestine into which the pancreatic and bile ducts open.

“On a routine physical exam, my physician picked up on elevated liver enzymes, leading to extensive testing and discovery of the cancer,” Kearney said.

Kearney is still teaching at Murray State.

Casey Popp, senior from Cape Girardeau, Mo., said Kearney is actively working with the nursing students.

“Dr. Kearney has had a big impact on the lives of a lot of students and this is our way of showing appreciation and support,” Popp said.

“Donating in Barbara’s name seemed like a good way to honor her,” Kathleen Farrell, associate professor of nursing, said. “After she let us know about her situation many of us wanted to help by any means possible.”


She said it took a lot of coordinating to pull the blood drive together, but once the process had begun, it worked out better than expected.

“The equipment and nursing students were already available and with the help of the Murray Calloway County Blood Bank staff the event was met with great success”, Farrell said.

Officials from the Murray-Calloway County Hospital Blood Bank, said the drive put 45 units of blood into the system for future transfusions.

Beth Wiggins, blood donor recruiter for the Murray-Calloway County Blood Bank, said the need for blood is vital.

“We can only keep a unit of blood for 35 days,” she said. “That’s why we are more successful doing smaller blood drives several times per year to replenish our stock.”

Wiggins said they are always looking for participants to hold blood drives.

Kearney said she is in awe of the amount of support she has received.

“I am honored and overwhelmed by the number of people who have shown up in support,” she said.

Kearney said the cancer is debilitating on her body at times, but she isn’t giving in.

Said Kearney: “Cancer is not a death sentence like it used to be, I’m going to beat the odds of my disease.”