Nashville community encouraged to give blood
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The American Red Cross and Covenant Presbyterian Church are teaming up to host a special blood drive in honor of Covenant member and Sewanee-University of the South student Chandler Altenbern. Altenbern, a compassionate and fearless 21-year-old, is battling Burkitt’s lymphoma, a form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The community is invited to take part in this opportunity to help save lives on Friday, Aug. 5, from 4 – 9 p.m. at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 33 Burton Hills Blvd.
When Chandler was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma in March 2016, she and her family learned firsthand how important blood donations could be. Blood and platelet transfusions have helped give Chandler energy and feel her best while undergoing chemotherapy treatments and working to complete classes for her Psychology major.
“Chandler has really been a fighter through this whole process,” said Michelle Austin, a Covenant Presbyterian Church member and long-time friend of the family. “She has gone through five rounds of chemo and received about 20 blood and platelet transfusions, yet she is hopeful and has a very strong faith.”
Described as tremendously caring, considerate, and well-liked by her peers, Chandler, who is lovingly called “Chan,” grew up spending summers babysitting younger children, attending Vacation Bible School and mission trips, as well as teaching Sunday school and leading camps at Covenant Presbyterian Church.
Scheduled to complete an internship at Yale this summer, Chandler had to rescind the offer due to chemotherapy treatments. However, the outpouring of encouragement she has received from friends, family and Covenant Presbyterian Church members has been astounding.
“The support from our pastors and church has been incredible,” said Nancy Altenbern, Chandler’s mother. “Some have emailed her [Chandler] prayers and given us hand-written notes and letters, as well as provided restaurant gift cards so that we can have family meals at the hospital. This has all been very helpful to our family.”
The Covenant Presbyterian Church blood drive in honor of Chandler comes at an important time when the Red Cross is issuing an emergency call for donors to give now to help address a significant blood shortage and ensure area patients receive the transfusions they need.
Right now, blood products are being distributed to hospitals faster than donations are coming in. Every two seconds in the United States blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
“It seems like it would be kind of scary to give your blood,” said Chandler. “But, it really isn’t. They do such an amazing job when you go to give, and you’re really giving life to another person.”
All presenting donors will receive special access to purchase discounted tickets to ten Cedar Fair theme parks across the U.S. Cedar Fair will donate $2 from each discounted ticket purchase back to the Red Cross to support its humanitarian mission.
Covenant Presbyterian Church Blood Drive
in Honor of Chandler Altenbern
Friday, Aug. 5
4 to 9 p.m.
Covenant Presbyterian Church
33 Burton Hills Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37215
How to donate blood
To schedule an appointment, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org and use sponsor code: CovenantPresChurch. 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.
Blood donors can now 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, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
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.orgor cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.