Providing support for students and families undergoing aggressive cancer treatment, a handful of volunteers from Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District 103 will host a LifeSource blood drive and marrow registry from 8:30 am-2:30 pm on Saturday, April 26, at Daniel Wright Junior High School, 1370 N. Riverwoods Road, Lincolnshire.
While each student's cancer--and prognosis--is different, each has needed multiple blood transfusions as part of their treatment. Looking to raise awareness of childhood cancers, as well as to replenish blood supplies and register potential marrow donors, volunteers from the school district have invited Chicagoland blood supplier LifeSource and the national marrow donor registry, "Be The Match," to co-host the event.
Eighth grader Kyra Roach, for example, is battling Stage 2 Osteosarcoma, a bone cancer. When she gets better, she hopes to one day pursue a career in medical research. Treatment to remove a tumor in her left knee has required multiple rounds of chemotherapy and blood transfusions. Kyra attends Daniel Wright Junior High School, and her 17-year-old sister Katy, a Stevenson High School junior, plans to be the first donor when the drive begins.
Esther Lee, a fourth grade teacher at Half Day School, meanwhile, has a five-year-old daughter who is battling leukemia. Not only has Ava Lee needed many blood transfusions, but her family was recently told that she may need a bone marrow transplant. "Be The Match" will be at the drive to take swab samples for possible donors.
There's also a third family with a child who is battling leukemia but has asked to remain anonymous at this time.
"We wanted to do something positive to show our support for these students and families, and to recognize the challenges they've faced through their treatment protocols," says school district literary specialist and volunteer Pam Owens. "We care, and we are doing what we can to assist the families at this time of need."
Owens says the volunteers' goal is to collect 100 units of blood, while also adding 100 new members to the marrow registry. Volunteers will include more than 30 teachers and office support staff members. Student volunteers from Daniel Wright Junior High School will distribute homemade thank-you cards to donors and registrants.
Hoping to show local community business support, Culver's Restaurant owner Kevin Weasler in Buffalo Grove says he'll reward participating donors and marrow registrants with a coupon for a free pint of custard as part of his "Give a Pint, Get a Pint" promotion.
"I've got three little girls at home myself," Weasler says, "so this blood drive and marrow registry really hits home."
Appointments for the blood drive are preferred, but all walk-ins are welcome. Donors can schedule their appointment by calling LifeSource at (877) 543-3768 or visiting www.lifesource.org and using sponsor code 577B. For more information, contact LifeSource account manager Sharon Fulgenzi at 847-687-8478. Those interested in registering for marrow must be ages 18-44 and meet certain health guidelines. No appointment is necessary for marrow registration.
Along with hosting daily blood drives, LifeSource operates 15 community donor centers and fixed sites with regular operating days and hours. LifeSource is Chicagoland's Donor Center for the Be The Match Registry. In preparation for their donation, donors are asked to eat well, stay hydrated and arrive with proper identification.