Family hosts blood drive for toddler Lee Garfat with rare condition

November 3, 2017
The community is invited to give blood in honor of Leon “Lee” Garfat at a special American Red Cross blood drive held in his name Wednesday, Nov. 15, 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Genesis Health Presidential Center.
Lee was born six weeks early June 3, 2014. He experienced many complications in his first months, eventually being diagnosed with immunodysregulation polyendocrinopathy enteropathy X-linked chromosome syndrome, known as IPEX. He received a bone marrow transplant at 6 months old and received blood during the procedure.
According to his family, Lee loves to be around other children and babies. He loves cars, bubbles, building blocks and his dog, Ellie. “He is full of life at a young age,” said Wendy Meachem, Lee’s grandmother. “I think the park is his favorite activity.”
Lee’s family hope the community will give in his honor. “Lee deserves a chance to live a semi-normal life. He has fought for his life since the minute he was born and has proved he is a true hero,” said Wendy. “We will forever be indebted to the donors who helped make his treatments possible. There are no words to show our gratitude. Blood donors are all priceless. I can’t imagine not having my Lee in my life.”
“There are so many reasons why someone may need blood that we don’t even realize,” said Kelly Beck, donor recruitment account manager for the Red Cross. “We take for granted that blood will be there at the hospital when we need it, but it can only come from generous volunteer donors. Giving blood in Lee’s name is a wonderful way to honor him and potentially help others with his condition.”
Every two seconds in the United States blood is 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. The Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals nationwide.
Donate Blood in honor of Lee Garfat
Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017
6:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Genesis Health Presidential Center
524 James Way, Marion, OH 43302
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit 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, from a computer or mobile device. To get started and learn more, visit and follow the instructions on the site.
Volunteers needed
Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer transportation specialists play a very important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products. For more information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, visit
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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.



Marion, OH
United States
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