Trying to Help Others, Area Teen Helps Save His Own Life

October 24, 2008

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Sixteen-year-old David Sczesny, a junior at Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis., wanted to help save lives by donating blood with his father Gene at an American Red Cross blood drive this summer. That decision to help others by giving the gift of life may have saved his own.

During David's blood donation on June 24, he learned that he was anemic and unable to donate blood that day. Disappointed by the news, David went home. He had been suffering from headaches and feeling dizzy lately, so his mom was concerned when she found out he was also anemic and took him to the doctor.

"We found out that David has Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a bone marrow cancer," said Mary Ochowicz-Sczesny, David's mom. "If he hadn't gone to donate blood that day, by the time his symptoms started to appear, his condition would have been life-threatening."

David's only hope for a cure is a bone marrow transplant. Eligible blood donors will have two opportunities to help people like David who are battling cancer at the Ochowicz-Sczesny Tribute. The blood and bone marrow registry drive is on Saturday, November 1 at The Pettit National Ice Center in the Hall of Fame Room.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. eligible individuals can donate blood and become one of "David's Donors." They can also help save a life by registering as a bone marrow donor and joining the National Bone Marrow Registry. All presenting donors are also eligible to enter a raffle for prizes and enjoy special food. Sponsors of the event include: American Red Cross; the Dan Jansen Foundation which supports charities, with an emphasis on the fight against leukemia; and DKMSAmericas, the largest bone marrow donor center in the world, who will facilitate bone marrow registrations.

Blood donated through the Red Cross is available to patients with medical need. Blood products are often used for cancer treatments as well as for bone marrow transplants. Bone marrow transplant patients can need between 10 and 20 pints of blood throughout the course of the treatment. To help patients like David, it is important that these blood products are available at a moment's notice. Please take the time to donate blood and change a life, starting with your own.

How to Donate Blood

Simply call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543) or visit 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. Eligible donors must be at least 17 years old, or 16 years old with a signed Red Cross parental/guardian consent form where state permits, must weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health.

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. 


Milwaukee, WI
United States
43° 2' 20.0508" N, 87° 54' 23.3064" W
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