Jesse Saperstein who serves as the Media and Activities Liaison for the College Experience, recently worked with the American Red Cross to film his live blood donation while delivering a motivational speech at the same time. It has been released to the national media on Monday, April 20, 2020.
We lionize the efforts of our Direct Support Professionals, other staff, students, and individuals associated with Living Resources, Inc. who are doing whatever is in their power to safely make contributions during this unprecedented pandemic. The American Red Cross has also been exceptionally kind to the College Experience by employing our alumni as volunteers at their complex on Everett Road. It is a pleasure to be able to give something back! You can view the Public Service Announcement (PSA) below.
The press release that has been disseminated to the public, is as follows:
Jesse Saperstein is a 38-year old man with autism burdened by countless phobias including spiders, olives, and nonbiodegradable waste such as Styrofoam. But one thing he is certainly not afraid of is needles!
Jesse recently broke his quarantine during the apex of the Coronavirus to film a public service announcement for the American Red Cross encouraging more people to replenish the nearly depleted blood supply. (It is accessible via the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Swk3xso5YU) Even seconds after the needle is inserted into a prominent vein, Jesse maintains his trademark sense of humor and chuckles:
“I did not even feel that. Alright, fine. I did feel it, but it was nothing compared to the feeling that I am helping to save someone’s life during a time when the American Red Cross is in dire straits.”
The PSA covers the subject of bullying and advocates for those individuals blamed for the spread of the Coronavirus. (His friend, Erin, whose husband is Asian, was recently spit on and beaten in public.) Jesse’s life has been marred by many years of bullying and rejection that did not dissipate until his early thirties. The amiable personalities from the phlebotomists at the American Red Cross have always served as a haven for Jesse since the age of seventeen. He states in the footage:
“Much of my life was spent being called names such as weird, Sketchy Jesse, creepy, loser, and many other horrific things. Even during these times of anguish and emasculation, I could always donate blood and feel better because of knowing that someone’s life had been saved.”
“Whether we are on the front lines as health care workers in the Emergency Room, caring for affected family members, or locking ourselves at home away from physical, human contact . . . we are all battling the same enemy while suffering in our own way. But we are at war with an insidious virus created by biological evolution. Not with each other and certainly not with scapegoats who had nothing to do with what is happening among humankind.”
Jesse has been trying to reach out to vulnerable individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts due to the social isolation and loss of their cherished routines. He encourages people of all abilities to safely contribute what they can, build a new routine, and create a silver lining. The message from this video is that we all have something profound to offer during these desperate and unprecedented times.
Jesse is an autism advocate and author of two books with Penguin Group (USA), Atypical and Getting a Life with Asperger’s. This past January, he was a featured guest on the Dr. Phil Show that may be accessed on YouTube with the title, “David Elmore Smith and I meeting for the first time on the Dr. Phil Show.”
Filming was performed by Emily Wood and was edited by Michael Gaylin from Aurora Video.