To help ensure patients like Jace Skwara have the blood products they need, the American Red Cross is partnering with KHQA to host the 12th annual 12 Hours of Giving Winter Blood Drive on Dec. 16 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the American Red Cross Quincy Blood Donation Center.
At just three months of age, Jace was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma cancer, also known as cancer of the nerves. While he didn't understand what the word cancer meant, he quickly learned to fight through aggressive treatment that included blood transfusions.
“If blood products are not readily available, treatment is delayed and that could mean allowing cancer to take over,” said Jace’s mother, Alisha Skwara. “My son's course of care may have been completely altered without the generosity of others giving blood.”
Jace, now a one-year-old, has several more procedures scheduled, but is considered NED or “no evidence of disease.” After five years in this status, he will be considered in remission. “Some of the greatest gifts are the ones that are done out of selflessness,” said Alisha. “From a family who was deeply impacted by the need for blood, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for being a hero when we needed it the most.”
The winter months can be among the most challenging times of year for the Red Cross to collect enough blood donations. Many donors are busy with holiday activities, and inclement weather can force the cancellation of blood drives. Additionally, some donors become temporarily ineligible because of seasonal illnesses, but the need is constant; patients like Jace do not get a holiday from needing donated blood.
Those who attempt to help save lives at the 12th annual 12 Hours of Giving Winter Blood Drive will receive a Red Cross long-sleeve T-shirt and be entered to win raffle prizes, while supplies last.
Blood donors of all types are needed. Those with types O, A negative and B negative blood are encouraged to make a Power Red donation at this blood drive. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code “12HOURS”, 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 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.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.