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Breck Denny is, and will always be, the funniest person we know. He was a once-in-a-lifetime comedic performer. Somehow, he was an even better friend, son, brother, dog dad, and husband-to-be.
He died on January 17, 2022 from a spontaneous splenic artery rupture, an event so rare that there are less than 150 known cases in medical literature. Rarest of chances for the rarest of men. He was 34. Breck was a passionate blood donor, and it was donated blood that gave him a fighting chance in his final hours.
That’s why we’ve organized BLOOD FOR BRECK: BRECK DENNY MEMORIAL BLOOD DRIVE, which is being held in the midst of a historic national blood shortage — the nation’s worst in a decade. Giving blood saves lives right now. In fact, a single donation can save up to three. The generous blood donations of others kept Breck alive long enough for his fiancé to be with him at his bedside and say goodbye.
We’re giving #BloodForBreck — but why did Breck donate blood? After contracting and handily beating COVID-19 in March 2020, Breck — an established star within the Groundlings comedy troupe and rising star in film and TV — found himself with fresh antibodies, but not much to do with them. Live comedy was on hold, along with the rest of the world. So Breck found a new way to make life brighter for others: he began donating blood and convalescent plasma. His blood went toward research that was vital to the development of COVID-19 treatments, especially in the early days of the pandemic. Even after the world started spinning again, Breck never stopped giving blood.
In January 2022, Breck was vacationing in Santa Barbara with his fiancée, Emily, and their dog Yankee, when he went to the hospital with stomach pains. His splenic artery ruptured in the early hours of the morning and he was rushed into surgery. Over the course of several hours and two operations, Breck had a full body’s volume of new blood cycled through him – eighteen times over. He was given around 70 “units” of blood (a unit is how much you would typically donate in one session, and is equivalent to two cups). This is a staggering amount of blood, and a testament to just how hard, and how courageously, he fought — and to the extraordinary lengths doctors went to trying to save his life.
The intensity of this day was heightened by the nation’s catastrophic blood shortage. The hospital exhausted all of their resources to keep Breck alive, so that he could keep battling. We wish the outcome had been different. But it wasn’t, and Breck wasn’t one to dwell — nobody had a faster rebound time after a tee shot into the woods. And so we’re rebounding too, and doing what we believe he would’ve done: we’re fighting back against this blood shortage, to give others like Breck an even better shot at survival.
A born performer, Breck was giving the gift of life long before he sat in a chair and donated blood. He gave himself to us onstage and onscreen, at dinners and at parties, on car rides and walks in the woods, in his loudest, most uproarious moments and in the quiet, gentle moments too, and in every second in between.
Breck Denny was always giving.
Now it’s our turn.
Thank you for joining us.