Gina Cyza was a vibrant and active woman. The mother of two young daughters was an avid runner, having completed many half marathons. She shared her love of running by serving as a coach for Girls on the Run, a nonprofit that helps build confidence and camaraderie in young women through running.
Just three months after her 40th birthday, Cyza was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Sadly, she died eight months later.
During her treatment, Cyza received blood and platelet transfusions. It was her wish that friends and family do something to help others battling illnesses, so they are hosting the second annual blood drive in Cyza’s memory Dec. 3.
“People believe that something like this could never happen to them. We certainly never thought that Gina, a healthy, active 40-year-old runner, would ever be diagnosed with a disease, let alone pancreatic cancer, and pass away a mere eight months later,” said Amy Racine, Cyza’s sister-in-law. “I think it’s important for people that are healthy to take the initiative to share that gift of good health by giving back to those that need it. Someday you just might find yourself in the position to need blood,” she added.
The Omaha community is encouraged to make an appointment for the blood drive in Cyza’s memory to help ensure a sufficient blood supply. A seasonal decline in donations often occurs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day when donors get busy with family gatherings and travel. However, patients don’t get a holiday vacation from needing lifesaving transfusions. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
Donate blood in memory of Gina Cyza
Saturday, Dec. 3
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Nebraska Medicine – Village Pointe
111 N. 175th St.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org 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.