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Donate blood in honor of 9-year-old surgery patient Blake Ballard

Heart of America

March 24, 2014

PEORIA, Ill. (March 24, 2014) – Nine-year-old West Peoria resident Blake Ballard has a lot on his agenda the next few months. Not only is he busy with school and preparing for his 10th birthday in April, he’ll undergo his third open heart surgery in the summer.

Blake was born with several congenital heart defects, including a type of Truncus Arteriosis that has never before been seen. These defects cause him to have improper blood flow, which, if left untreated, can put extra strain on his lungs. Blake has received blood transfusions as a result of his previous surgeries and will likely require more during his upcoming surgery. The open heart surgery scheduled to take place during the summer requires doctors to install an adult-sized aortic arch – a procedure usually not performed on children.

To help ensure Blake and patients like him have the lifesaving blood products they need, friends and family are hosting an American Red Cross blood drive in Blake’s honor on March 29 in Peoria Heights.

“Blake has been dependent on the generosity of blood donors in the past, and may need them again this summer,” said Amber Ballard, Blake’s mother. “Through Blake’s story, I hope eligible blood donors see just how critical blood donations are and give as often as they can.”

Donate Blood in Honor of Blake Ballard

March 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Grand View Lodge #1112, 3819 N. Prospect Road in Peoria Heights, Ill.

To make a donation appointment, please call Amber Ballard at 309-922-9753. Eligible donors can also call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit

Donors of all blood types are needed. Donated blood may be used for organ transplant patients, trauma victims, heart surgery patients, premature babies, patients with complications during childbirth, and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other diseases, such as sickle cell disease.
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.