Valley Voices

Dean Eller: Jenny’s hello from heaven

Jenny Eller died Oct. 28, 1995 of leukemia.
Jenny Eller died Oct. 28, 1995 of leukemia.

Hi everyone!

This is Jenny Eller from heaven. Can you believe it? I’ve been here 20 years now, loving every moment. Heaven is awesome! All you experience in life that eventually will lead you here is worth the journey.

I’m amazed at the work you’re all doing to help my dad keep the blood supply safe and strong! You are saving lives and giving others a higher quality of life as they battle to live. There are so many who could not possibly have made it without you! Thank you!

Your devotion – and regular blood donations – kept me alive for four wonderful years as I pursued my dreams, education and relationships I still cherish here in heaven. You became not only my lifeline but also my friends, and you have continued to be that link to so many others. Because of your unselfish gifts, we are connected through eternity.

I know you donate blood out of the kindness of your heart (and maybe because of the Twinkies), but don’t underestimate the far-reaching impact you have on society. When the day comes for you to join me here, I will show you the ripple effect you’ve had on all of humanity.

You will be astonished, I guarantee! As I write this, Shelcy, Nick, Andrea, Anthony, Matt, Lance, “Big Al,” Ed and a host of other kids you’ve helped are with me here, smiling and nodding in agreement.

I am so proud of you, Central Valley! You’ve answered the call and made the legacy of the Jenny Eller Donor Center a reality. You’ve also blessed my parents by joining them in this mission. I know they thank God every day for your words of encouragement, personal involvement, time, and most importantly, your lifesaving gift of blood. Truly, your rewards precede you and are stored up in heaven.

Growing up in Fresno, my life was so rich and wonderful, meeting phenomenal people like you as I spoke to service groups, schools and churches. I met with city and county leaders, elected officials and everyday people to explain the urgent need for blood, and all of you responded so wonderfully. My dad tells me there isn’t a community anywhere like the Central Valley that supports blood donations like you do by keeping a safe and adequate supply at all times.

I was only 21 when I moved to heaven. I miss all of you, of course, but the joy of being in the presence of Jesus is indescribable, truly beyond words. And oh, what a productive 20 years since then because of your devotion and dependability.

Keep up the good work, my friends, and I will see you after your mission is complete. Until then, give blood and cheer on my Fresno State softball team. Go ’Dogs!

Dean Eller is president and CEO of the Central California Blood Center and Jenny’s father. He can be reached at

About Jenny Eller

Jenny Eller died Oct. 28, 1995, after a four-year fight with leukemia, and as a passionate advocate for blood donors and our community that kept her alive. The Central California Blood Center on Herndon Avenue is named after her.