Ocean Springs, Ms. (July 10, 2020) — The American Red Cross is asking donors who are feeling healthy and well to make an appointment to give blood and help keep the blood supply stable for patients who rely on lifesaving transfusions. The community is invited to donate blood at a special blood drive in honor of Ansley Gilich Friday, July 24, from noon to 7 p.m. at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, 502 Jackson Ave. in Ocean Springs. Presenting donors will receive a Red Cross T-shirt.
On March 4, 2020 at the age of seven, Ansley was diagnosed with b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as ALL. Her condition requires multiple blood product transfusions. Childhood ALL is the most common type of childhood cancer. It has a 90-95% cure rate that requires two to three years of intense treatment.
Ansley just finished first grade at St. Alphonsus Elementary School. She is outgoing, kind, funny and very smart. She enjoys dancing and singing with her family and friends and has a beautiful soul.
“She is beautiful inside and out and is kicking cancer’s butt like the little warrior princess that she is,” said Michelle Gilich, Ansley’s mother. “We know there’s an urgent need for blood products due to the coronavirus pandemic and we want to help as much as we can.”
“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 Ansley’s name is a wonderful way to honor her and potentially help others.”
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.
The Red Cross is now testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies for a limited time, providing donors insight into whether they have been exposed to this coronavirus. Donors who help support the urgent need by giving at this drive will be able to view their results 7-10 days after donation through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or at RedCrossBlood.org.
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to protect the health of all those in attendance.