Blood Drive in Honor of Cousins Fighting Cancer
Central Plains Blood Services Region
Media Contact: Jennifer L. Keller, (316) 558-2428, @RedCrossBloodCP
WICHITA, Kan. (Nov. 16, 2012) – In December 2011, 15-month-old Mason Meyer was diagnosed with multi-grade oligoastrocytoma, a type of brain cancer. In September 2012, his 14-year-old cousin Bekah Crowe was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The past few months, these two families have joined together to “help Mason and Bekah fight cancer with all their might!”
The Red Cross and the families of Mason Meyer and Bekah Crowe will host the Cousins Fighting Cancer Blood Drive from Monday, Nov. 19 through Saturday, Nov. 24 at the Wichita Blood Donor Center, 707 N. Main, Wichita, Kan.
Wichita Blood Donor Center hours:
Monday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 20, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (free pie day*)
CLOSED THANKSGIVING DAY**
Friday, Nov. 23, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (free pie day*)
Saturday, Nov. 24, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“The week of Thanksgiving seemed like a perfect time for this blood drive because we are very thankful to have these children in our lives,” said Terrie Cross, Mason and Bekah’s great-aunt. “By sharing their story, we hope people in our community will make time to give blood to help these and other children facing cancer.”
About Mason and Bekah
In December 2011, Mason (pictured at right), 15 months old at the time, was diagnosed with multi-grade oligoastrocytoma, a rare and inoperable malignant tumor in the center of his brain. He spent four-and-a-half months at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn., undergoing numerous surgeries and chemotherapy. The chemotherapy caused him to lose most of his hearing, but the family of five is busy learning sign language. Not only will this help the family communicate, it will help Mason continue to develop the fundamentals he will need to succeed in a hearing-world.
Although Mason’s tumor remains a significant threat, it has stabilized – at least for now. While he remains under the supervision of doctors at St. Jude, he was able to come home to Harper, Kan. He is back to watching Sesame Street and playing with his John Deere tractors. Mason celebrated his 2nd birthday in September.
This September, Bekah (pictured at right) was seen by her family doctor to follow-up on a string of just-not-feeling-well symptoms. A large mass was found in her lower abdomen. She was admitted to the hospital the next day and testing began. The cancerous tumor proved to be very aggressive and surgeons could not remove it. Lifesaving chemotherapy had to begin before doctors knew what type of cancer it was. On Sept. 24, Bekah and her family got the news: Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer.
Although the tumor has surprisingly responded to treatment and doctors are hopeful they will be able to remove it, this is a race against time before the cancer spreads.
“It is a miracle that Mason’s tumor has stabilized. It is a miracle that Bekah’s tumor has reduced in size. We pray that continues so it can be removed,” said Cross. “There is always hope, you just have to look for it.”
Both of these stories highlight just how important each and every blood donation can be. Both Mason and Bekah have relied on whole blood and platelets from Red Cross donors throughout Kansas.
Learn more about Mason and Bekah on their Cousins Fighting Cancer Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/cousinsfightingcancer?fref=ts
How to Donate Blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. Walk-ins are welcome at this drive. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
* In addition to giving blood in honor of Mason and Bekah, all presenting donors on Nov. 21 and Nov. 23 will receive a gift card for a free pie, courtsey of Dillions Food Stores while supplies last.
**The Wichita Blood Donor Center will not be collecting whole blood, but will be open for platelet donors on Thanksgiving, Nov. 22, 2012. People can learn more about donating platelets or make an appointment to donate by calling 316-268-0875 or toll free 1-866-206-0694.