Community invited to give blood in honor of Nickole Schmidt-VanHecker
WEYERHAEUSER, Wis. – In January 2013 Nickole Schmidt-VanHecker was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). She was just 31 years old and had only been married for three months. To help ensure Nickole and patients like her have the lifesaving blood products they need, her friends and family are asking the community give blood at an American Red Cross blood drive being held in her honor on June 13.
Immediately following her AML diagnosis, Schmidt-VanHecker started chemotherapy treatment aimed at inducing a remission. She was hospitalized for one month while she regained her strength and built back her immune system. Following that hospital stay she needed three additional treatments, requiring her to be admitted to the hospital for five days each time. In the first four months, she received over 40 blood and platelet transfusions.
Because AML has a high relapse rate, Nickole underwent a double bone marrow transplant in August 2013. She needed chemotherapy and radiation, and remained in the hospital for another month. She then transitioned to Hope Lodge with a caregiver for an additional 80 days.
“You just never know when you or a family member is going to be in need of blood products. We are so grateful to the donors who took the time out of their busy schedules to donate so that the blood Nickole needed was available,” said Susanne Schmidt, Nickole’s mother. “We want to pay it forward on behalf of those who helped save my daughter’s life. We want to help make sure the blood is there for someone else.”
Give blood in honor of Nickole Schmidt-VanHecker:
June 13 from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. at VFW, 3786 N. 4th St. in Weyerhaeuser
Last year, 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer. Many of them will need blood products to help during chemotherapy treatments, which attack cancer cells but can also lower blood and platelet counts. Blood transfusions can also be used in treating cancer patients, accident victims, organ transplant recipients, premature babies and those with blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia.
“Blood donations can help save lives,” said Geoff Kaufmann, CEO of the North Central Blood Services Region. “Someone’s donation could give a patient more time with loved ones. When they’re in need of blood products, patients rely on the willingness of others to give.”
The summer months are a challenging time of the year to collect enough blood to meet patient needs, but you can help ensure blood is available whenever and wherever it is needed. Donors of all blood types are needed this summer, especially O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative.
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 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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossBloodNC.