SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (Jan. 21, 2019) — On Saturday, Jan. 26, two Goleta families are joining together to host an American Red Cross community blood drive in honor of Alanna Watson and Luna Giles, two young princess warriors who rely on blood products.
Alanna Watson, 6, is a spirted young girl who loves animals, especially dogs, all things Disney, and spending time outdoors. Alanna was recently diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a rare type of brain cancer.
As part of the treatment, Alanna has undergone surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. Regular blood transfusions have been essential in increasing her hemoglobin levels, which help give her the energy to play and enjoy her life despite her struggles.
“It's always a joy to see her energy levels rise and the color come back to her cheeks when she gets her blood transfusions,” notes Alanna’s father, Steve Watson.
At two days old, Luna Giles underwent surgery to address multiple heart defects. Luna, underwent two heart surgeries in her first year of life and required over a dozen blood transfusions. Luna, now 1 ½, will likely need additional blood products for an additional surgery in her future.
“Luna's story is a reminder of the constant need for blood,” said Jessie Giles, Luna’s mother. “People would ask me how they could help and I would tell them to go give blood. Each time, the nurse would bring in a bag of blood for her transfusion, I noticed a small label on each one that said ‘Donation Type: Volunteer.’ It made me think about each individual who donated blood for my daughter. I would never know who those individuals were, and they would never see the effect their donation had. But each of those individuals, strangers to us, absolutely saved my daughter's life. They may never know it, but to me, they are heroes.”
As a way to pay it forward, the Watson and Giles families are holding a blood drive and invite the community to give blood in honor of Alanna and Luna and other patients.
Blood drive in honor of Alanna Watson and Luna Giles
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
478 Cambridge Dr.
9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Donors of all blood types are urged to roll up a sleeve in Alanna’s and Luna’s honor. To make an appointment download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and use sponsor code AlannaW.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) 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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), 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.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
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 CruzRojaAmericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.