COLUMBIA, Tenn. (May 3, 2019) — The American Red Cross and Saint Catherine Catholic Church are teaming up to host a special blood drive in honor of Alex Grappin, a resilient eight-year-old battling T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), a rare form of leukemia in which the immune system's T cells acquire multiple mutations that freeze the cells immaturely and cause accumulation in the body. The community is invited to take part in this opportunity to help save lives in Alex’s honor Sunday, May 19, from 7:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Saint Catherine Catholic Church Social Hall, 3019 Cayce Lane, in Columbia.
When Alex was diagnosed with leukemia in Aug. 2018 – the week he was scheduled to start second grade – his family learned firsthand how important blood donations could be.
“My parents were long-time blood donors and that inspired me to begin donations with Red Cross in high school,” said seven-gallon milestone blood donor Tony Grappin, Alex’s father. “I never knew that someone I love would have a need for as much blood as Alex has gotten. Seeing how multiple people have anonymously and directly impacted his health means the world.”
Blood and platelet transfusions have helped Alex while undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments. Described by his father as a “fun, bright and happy kid,” his family has recently added “champ” to the list. Despite missing every day of school and time spent making memories with friends, Alex has faced the challenges of his treatments with bravery.
“There have been dozens of clinic visits, a month’s worth of overnight stays at the hospital, so many hours of chemotherapy, countless needle sticks and endless conversations with doctors and nurses,” said Tony. “Despite that, he remains happy and as active as he can be. . . Alex is definitely a brave little man.”
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Donations are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
“There’s always a need for blood,” said Tony. “While a donation made at this drive may not benefit Alex directly, you will make a difference in someone’s life and in the community as a whole.”
Blood donors of all types are needed to donate in honor of Alex. The Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood donations and urges type O donors – as well as eligible donors of all blood types – to give now to help ensure lifesaving patient care isn’t impacted this spring.
As a special thank you, all presenting donors will be sent a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card* via email. *Restrictions apply. Visit: RedCrossBlood.org/Together
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter sponsor code: StCathCol 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 and platelet donors can 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, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
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.