Miss Massachusetts hosts blood drive in Mattapoisett

Jun 15, 2018

Jillian Zucco, the reigning Miss Massachusetts, hosted a community blood drive with the American Red Cross at St. Anthony’s Church in Mattapoisett Thursday.

In addition to being Miss Massachusetts, Zucco, a 25-year-old native of Mattapoisett, works as an oncological nurse at the South Coast Cancer Center in Fairhaven and is passionate about providing care to those in need.

“I was involved with the Red Cross and other medical related charities long before I became Miss Massachusetts,” Zucco said while manning the desk at the blood drive. “There’s a lot that we can do as volunteers in healthcare to make a difference.”

Zucco has previously organized blood drives and has raised about $40,000 for Boston Children’s Hospital, roughly equivalent to the amount of money she’s earned in scholarships through competing in pageants.

“I was able to put myself through nursing school,” Zucco, who graduated from the UMass Dartmouth nursing program in 2016, said. “So I wanted to raise about the same amount of money for charity,” she said, adding that she hoped the money would help make childrens’ stay there more pleasant.

Zucco said she promoted Thursday’s blood drive primarily through social media, and said the turnout was great, so much so that she anticipated the Red Cross staff would service the maximum of 43 donors.

Medical facilities are always short on blood many patients desperately need, Zucco said. She urged everyone to consider donating in the future and said organizing blood drives are relatively simple and easy.

Zucco has been Miss Massachusetts since last July and will pass the crown over to the next winner later this month. She said turning the reins over will be “bitter sweet,” and that she has no plans to pursue other pageant titles going forward.

“It’s been an amazing experience. I’ve met a lot of incredible people and made some great memories,” Zucco said. “But it’s time to move on to other dreams and other goals.”