24th Annual Holiday Blood Drive Honors Child Transplant Recipient

December 14, 2009

MADISON, Wis. – Give someone hope this holiday season and donate blood at the American Red Cross 24thAnnual Holiday Blood Drive on Thursday, December 24 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center.

This year, the Holiday Blood Drive honors Hayden Blatter, a blood and bone marrow recipient who was treated at the UW American Family Children's Hospital. Hayden is now an active 2-year-old, due in part to dedicated blood donors.

When Hayden was just 5 months old, he was diagnosed with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome (WAS), an autoimmune disease. The disease caused Hayden's antibodies to attack his platelets, requiring him to receive frequent platelet transfusions. In addition, to reduce the risk of infections, he also received Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatments. IVIG is a product made of plasma.

Without a bone marrow transplant, WAS is potentially fatal. In 2008, Hayden received his stem cell transfusion and remained in isolation for nearly a year to reduce his risk for infection and allow his immune system to rebuild itself.

"We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas at our home since we couldn't go out visiting," said Kami Blatter." People were actually afraid to be the one to bring in any sickness, so they didn't visit."

Join Hayden Blatter and his family as they share Hayden's story of survival and hope, and celebrate Hayden's first Christmas out of isolation. Enjoy a day of great company, visits from special guests, local music and lots of great food like pastries, holiday cookies, pizza, subs and much more. Eligible donors are encouraged to call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit givebloodgivelife.org to schedule an appointment to donate blood on December 24.Scheduling appointments in advance allows the Red Cross to make donations as convenient as possible for donors who are also busy running last minute errands or heading out of town to visit family and friends.

All presenting donors will receive a t-shirt and can enter for a chance to win great raffle prizes at the Holiday Blood Drive, including one of four pairs of tickets to a performance at the Overture Center. Parking and childcare are free! Blood donors can also bring non-perishable food items to the Holiday Blood Drive to donate to the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. Cash donations to Second Harvest will also be accepted.

Donors unable to make the Holiday Blood Drive will have another opportunity to donate blood fromDecember 28 through December 30 at the State Capitol Rotunda in Madison from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day.Walk-ins are welcome.

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit givebloodgivelife.org 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 (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors younger than 19 years also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. 

About the American Red Cross

Governed by volunteers and supported by giving individuals and communities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation's blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.