More than 50 children in Johnson County have been diagnosed with rare forms of blood and brain cancer in the last 10 years. Recent tests have showed elevated levels of known carcinogens in groundwater and sewers.
The families of some of those children have partnered with the American Red Cross for a special Kids Kicking Cancer blood drive Saturday, Dec. 15. 2018.
“We have partnered with some of those families to honor these kids and help them ensure that the blood supply is on the shelf for them should they need it,” says Donna Watkins, donor recruitment manager for the Red Cross.
She says cancer patients may need blood products during chemotherapy, surgery or treatment for complications.
“Chemotherapy is hard on the body. Some of the things it does it depletes the blood supply within the body so regular transfusions are needed for most cancer patients going through chemo,” Watkins says.
Watkins says they are looking to collect 150 to 200 units of blood that day.
For patients like 15-year-old Cooper Davis, blood donations mean life. Cooper is a student at Greenwood High School and was diagnosed at age 11 with Philadelphia chromosome positive B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Cooper and other Johnson County children now receive regular blood transfusions as part of their cancer treatment. The medical treatments for these children alone may require hundreds of blood products.
Cooper’s family, along with the families of 8-year-old Indian Creek Elementary School student Grant Harding and 14-year-old Indian Creek High School student Zane Davidson, are partnering with the American Red Cross for the blood drive.
“These children are a reminder that we never know who may end up needing blood transfusions,” Watkins says. “When someone we know has cancer we often wonder what we can do to help. Giving blood is a wonderful way to give back that can literally help save the lives of those being treated for cancer.”
The drive will be Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Greenwood Christian Church, 2045 Averitt Road.