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By Steve Steinberg
Believing that a good deed deserves recognition, two Noe Valley residents have organized a community blood drive this month in honor of three men who helped save the life of a San Francisco teenager.
The blood drive will take place on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. within the Parish Hall at St. Philip's Church, 725 Diamond Street.
Fair Oaks Street resident Kathleen Albert came up with the idea for the drive while anxiously awaiting news at a hospital last May. The daughter of a good friend was hovering near death after a brutal attack by a stranger.
Fifteen-year old Loren Schaller had been shopping at Creighton's Bakery on Portola Drive on May 19, when a man in the cafe suddenly attacked her with a hunting knife, stabbing her repeatedly. The man was later identified as Chris Scott Thomas, an ex-convict released from San Quentin Prison the day before.
Fortunately, three local passersby came to the girl's rescue. Kermit Kubitz wrestled with the attacker, pulling him off the girl. Kubitz suffered multiple stab wounds himself while trying to save Schaller. Thomas eventually fled the scene, leaving Kubitz with a collapsed lung and Schaller fighting for her life.
Sang-ick Chang, a medical doctor, had been grocery shopping and was returning to his car when he noticed the scuffle at the door of Creighton's. He quickly offered his services and administered emergency first aid to Schaller and Kubitz until ambulances arrived.
A third bystander, Jonas Svallin, who had been outside the Starbucks next to Creighton's when the attack began, also intervened. He chased after the fleeing attacker for half a mile until he could alert police, who quickly apprehended Thomas.
Svallin, Chang, and Kubitz were honored with special commendations from the San Francisco Police Commission on Aug. 8.
Although the three men had been recognized for their actions, Albert felt an additional expression of gratitude was in order. "A blood drive is something always needed by the community. It is a universal way to say thank you," Albert said. "It is something from my heart."
Albert, who has been joined in the effort to organize the event by her partner, Madeline Pfeiffer, said she has known Schaller since she was a baby. Despite several surgeries, she added, the teen has still not fully recovered from the attack.
Albert said the community has been "enormously supportive" of the drive, which will be called the Loren Schaller Blood Drive for Three Heroes. She said many people have already told her they plan to give blood.
The three men who the drive is honoring all will be present with their families. The event will also feature a raffle every half hour, with prizes supplied by local merchants.
For more information, call Kathleen Albert or Madeline Pfeiffer at 415-550-7527. Or to schedule a blood drive appointment, go to www.bloodheroes.com and key in the code LorenSchaller.