Cabot United Methodist Church hosts Red Cross blood drive in honor of young boy battling cancer
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Zach Chamness is not a man of steel, despite the red and yellow S on his chest. He’s a 2-year-old boy, fighting a brain tumor that threatens his future. In hopes of helping patients like him, Cabot United Methodist Church is partnering with the American Red Cross for a blood drive in honor of Zach on May 31.
In November 2013, Zach was diagnosed with desmoplastic nodular medulloblastoma. Medulloblastoma is a relatively rare but fast-growing tumor that accounts for nearly 20 percent of pediatric brain tumors, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.
Zach has received more than 22 blood transfusions and 32 platelet transfusions already. His treatment spans chemotherapy, stem cell transplants and radiation; he could need more transfusions as his treatment continues. To his family and those who know Zach’s story, he is a warrior of the sweetest sort.
“He’s just been such a superhero himself, such a trouper and always armed with a smile,” said his mother, Jill Chamness. “So, if we can help in any way to get more blood to these children and adults who need it, then we’re going to do that in any way we can. You don’t think about how much blood one person can need, especially dealing with cancer, until you’ve been in these shoes.”
Give blood in honor of Zach Chamness:
May 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cabot United Methodist Church - Family Life Center, 2003 Pine St., in Cabot, Ark.
While Zach’s favorite superheroes may be men who are faster than speeding bullets and wear capes, you don’t have to have a fancy costume to be a hero to a patient in need. By rolling up a sleeve and giving just one pint, you could be giving the lifesaving donation a patient like Zach has been waiting for.
“There’s simply no substitute for blood,” said Scott Caswell, CEO of the Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region. “If a patient in need gets a transfusion, it’s because someone else was willing to be a hero and give.”
Zach’s father, Steve, serves as a North Little Rock Police Officer. Jill is a pediatric physical therapist at Easter Seals, and their family attends Cabot United Methodist Church, where the blood drive is being held. Both Steve and Jill donated blood in the past and say they will continue giving into the future.
“This family embodies what it means to give,” said blood drive coordinator Amy Goddard. “This is an opportunity for us to not only have a chance to help Zach, but also other kids fighting like him. This is just a great way to honor the Chamness’ giving spirit and make a difference.”
The blood drive will be open to the public, and the Red Cross hopes to collect 75 pints of blood to help patients in need. Approximately 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year, and many of them will need blood products during their treatment. One blood donation can help save up to the three lives.
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. 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 consent in Arkansas), 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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.