Fourth annual 'Jimmy Rancich Birthday Blood Drive' moves from front porch to Rosemont Aug. 8
Bravely battling a rare and aggressive form of Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma he was diagnosed with in 2013, Jimmy Rancich decided four years ago that hosting a community blood drive is how he now wants to celebrate his birthday.
While COVID-19 has changed the way we live our lives, it's also forced Jimmy to move his annual drive -- normally held in front of his Park Ridge home -- to Vitalant's nearby offices at 5505 Pearl St. in nearby Rosemont, on Saturday, Aug. 8, from noon to 5 p.m.
Appointments are highly recommended and can be made by calling (877) 258-4928 or by visiting Vitalant.org and searching for Group Code 835B. Rancich notes if you can't make it that day to stop by any of Vitalant's 17 Chicagoland Donor Centers through August 31.
The first three Jimmy Rancich Birthday Blood Drives resulted in more than 150 blood donations, with each unit of blood helping to support three lives.
Jimmy's body has gone through more in the last eight years than most people endure in a lifetime. Diagnosed just before his junior year at Maine South, he has since received a stem cell transplant, numerous surgeries for complications stemming from his cancer treatments. He's also received more blood transfusions than he cares to remember.
A 2020 graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rancich is as adamant as ever in his efforts to tell the world how important it is to donate blood. After all, it was all of the blood transfusions that played a key role in making him feel instantly better during his treatments.
"As a cancer patient who needed many transfusions, I know how energizing a blood transfusion can make you feel," said Rancich, who had a rare form of Lymphoma and underwent several rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation, a stem cell transplant, multiple surgeries and who knows how many blood transfusions.
"Battling the disease was much harder and tougher than I ever imagined it could have been," he added. "I don't even know how many blood and platelet transfusions I've had; I just know I'm so grateful for the way it made me feel, and the way they saved my life."
The blood transfusions, more than anything, he said, gave him the will to keep going.
"You feel like you've been hit by a truck. Your body aches everywhere. You're tired, you're nauseous, then you get a blood transfusion and it is replenishing and energizing, and you feel like a whole new person after one," he said.
In preparation for their donation, donors are asked to eat well, stay hydrated and arrive with proper identification including picture ID. The donation appointment takes about an hour (with the donation itself taking only around 10 minutes) and is both safe and comfortable.
Vitalant is the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service providers, supplying comprehensive transfusion medicine services for nearly 1,000 hospitals and health care partners for patients in need across 40 states. Vitalant inspires local communities to serve the needs of others and transform lives through the selfless act of donating blood. Every day, almost 5,000 blood donations are needed to meet the needs of people throughout the country, and Vitalant's 780,000 donors supply 1.8 million donations a year. In addition to blood products, Vitalant offers customers transfusion services, medical consulting, quality guidance, ongoing education, research and more. For more information and to schedule a donation, visit vitalant.org or call 877-258-4825 (877-25-VITAL).