EAST PEORIA, Ill. (Aug. 12, 2020) — The community is invited to give blood in honor of Karly and Shayla at a special American Red Cross blood drive held in their names Saturday, Sept. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn and Suites, 101 Holiday St., in East Peoria.
Karly Rathbun and Shayla Schielein, both 11 years old, met three years ago while undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Both girls finished cancer treatment within the last year and required blood products.
After learning the Red Cross needed blood, these girls wanted to give back and help make sure that blood is there for future patients in need.
“We are calling family, friends, the community and anyone who loves to make a difference to come out and donate blood,” said April Rathbun, Karly’s mother.
2019 was the first year the blood drive was held in the girl’s honor and to date 60 lifesaving donations have been collected.
This blood drive comes as the Red Cross has a constant need for all blood products. 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.
“There are so many reasons why someone may need blood that we don’t even realize,” said Caleb Liggin, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross. “We take for granted that blood will be there at the hospital when we need it, but it can only come from generous volunteer donors. Giving blood in Karly’s and Shayla’s name is a wonderful way to honor these sweet girls and potentially help others with their condition.”