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Community invited to give blood in honor of Maddie Windle at Red Cross blood drive

Greater Ozarks-Arkansas

March 4, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.  — While most students at Anne Watson Elementary School in Bigelow, Ark., have been counting down the days until spring break, Maddie Grace Windle and her family have been counting down the days until she will return home from the hospital after fighting her third recurrence of cancer.

Maddie was originally diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumor in third grade when doctors detected a grapefruit-sized tumor on her right kidney. The tumor had reached Stage IV status and spread to her lymph nodes causing lesions on her lungs. Maddie Grace’s right kidney was removed, and she has endured chemotherapy, long hospital stays and countless blood product transfusions to try and win the battle. 

Maddie Gracie’s most recent recurrence was diagnosed in September. In January, the week of her 11th birthday, she received a stem cell transplant and is still being treated at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

“She’s been receiving about five units of red blood cells and three units of platelets a week,” said Brad Windle, Maddie’s father. “You can see the difference it makes. During the blood transfusion, you can see her little cheeks turn rosy again, her little lips go pink and her energy returns.”

Give blood in honor of Maddie Grace Windle:

March 18 from 3-7 p.m. at Anne Watson Elementary School, 2768 Highway 60 East, Bigelow, Ark.

“Just thinking about what all Maddie Grace and others have gone through, this seemed like the least we could do,” said Tracy Sparks, a family friend who helped organize the drive. “She’s such a fighter. And these donations can help save people’s lives while they fight. A lot of people want to help in some way, and this is how we can help.”

All donations at this drive will be recorded as given in honor of Maddie Grace Windle to help patients in need.  Blood products can be used by accident victims, premature babies, those undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant recipients and patients with blood disorders. Everyday heroes first stocked, and then restocked Red Cross shelves when severe winter weather struck earlier this year and forced the cancellation of about 1,500 blood drives. Donors of all blood types continued to be needed.

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit 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 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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.