NORTHPORT, Al. — The American Red Cross is asking donors who are feeling healthy and well to make an appointment to give blood to maintain the blood supply for patients who rely on lifesaving transfusions. Donate blood at a special blood drive for Neuroblastoma Awareness in memory of Jaden Elijah Smith Tuesday, July 7 from noon to 7 p.m. at the City of Northport Civic Center, 3500 McFarland Blvd. in Northport.
Jaden was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma at the age of 10. He received many types of blood products throughout his battle with cancer. Neuroblastoma is a type of childhood cancer that develops in the sympathetic nervous system. The disease forms solid tumors in the adrenal glands, abdomen, neck, chest, or pelvis. The tumors can spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones and bone marrow. Despite all of the treatments he underwent, at the end, Jaden had developed tumors in his brain, chest and kidney. The sixth grader passed away 4 months after his diagnose.
“We would love to see everyone come out to donate,” said Melisa Smith, Jaden’s mother. “We want to see our community pull together – like they are well known to do – to make this a huge blood drive to help so many people in need.”
“There are so many reasons why someone may need blood that we don’t even realize,” said Ronnika A. McFall, external communications manager of the Red Cross Alabama-Mississippi Blood Services Region. “We take for granted that blood products will be there at the hospital when we need them, but it can only come from generous volunteer donors. Giving blood in Jaden’s name is a wonderful way to honor his memory and potentially help others.”
This drive comes as the Red Cross encourages healthy individuals to schedule and keep blood donation appointments in the weeks ahead to ensure a stable supply for patients throughout this coronavirus pandemic. All donors are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
Blood donation is essential to ensuring the health of the community. In recent weeks, hospital demand for blood products has grown by 30% after sharply declining in early April amid this rapidly changing and complex public health crisis. At the same time, blood drives continue to be canceled as many businesses and community organizations remain closed. Donors are needed to make and keep scheduled appointments to help meet the current need.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to safeguard donors, volunteers and employees.