ITHACA, NY — He taught us the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane, (there isn’t one). He showed us how to discipline our minds. Most of all, he proved to us the power of love, loyalty and unsung heroism.

Alan Rickman, the beloved British actor who portrayed Severus Snape in all films in the Harry Potter franchise, passed away January 14, 2016 from cancer. He was 69 years old.

Soon after the news broke of Rickman’s passing, wizarding fans the world over sought to pay tribute. While some fans were able to leave flowers and cards at Platform 9 ¾ in Kings Cross Station in London, other raised their wands in unison at Universal Studios Resort’s replica London set at the third annual Celebration of Harry Potter on January 30.

During Ithaca’s Wizarding Weekend, you can honor the memory of both Alan Rickman and Severus Snape by donating blood in the Half-Blood Prince Blood Drive.

The blood donation drive will take place Thursday, October 27 from 1 – 6 p.m. in the Tompkins County Library’s Borg Warner Room, at 101 E Green St, Ithaca, NY 14850.

“I think it’s a wonderful way to honor him,” said Sheila Sullivan, account specialist for the American Red Cross. “You’re helping to give life to someone else.”

The blood drive will have magical flair with special decorations in the Borg Warner Room, the same location where wizarding classes will take place over the course of the weekend.

“Less than four percent of the population is able to donate blood does, so we’re always looking for creative ways to host blood drives and find new avenues to collect units that we need,” Sullivan said.

A single hospital might need 14,000 units of blood in a one day to keep up with need. The Red Cross’ goal is to collect at least 25 units of blood at the Half-Blood Prince Blood Drive.

“Alan Rickman was very generous as an actor. And as a character, in the end you realized what a giving and caring person Snape actually was,” said Sullivan. “Your one donation can go to help save up to three lives. Every two seconds someone needs blood.”

There are blood drive opportunities within the Ithaca community almost on a weekly basis. While there may not be pumpkin juice and cauldron cakes at the Half-Blood Prince Blood Drive, there will definitely be juice and cookies.

“A blood drive can actually be fun, and it’s not that difficult. When you walk away, you have a good feeling, and there’s always food involved,” Sullivan said.

In New York, donors must be over 17 years of age, but 16-year-olds who meet height and weight requirements can donate with parental consent. Forms are available online at, and will also be available at the blood drive.

Feature photo by Jeff Lower

Jennifer Wholey is a feature writer and Head of Dining Partnerships for the Ithaca Voice. Contact her at