Donate blood in honor of leukemia patient

June 20, 2013

Media contact: Cari Merrill, 316-268-0853, @RedCrossBloodCP            


Tessa Martin received estimated 20 blood transfusions


WOODWARD, Okla. (June 20, 2013) — In February, Tessa Martin noticed a dull ache behind her left knee. The pain puzzled the wife and mother who hadn’t pulled a muscle or experienced an injury.


“I distinctly remember the day,” said her husband, Clay Martin. That day is etched into his mind as it marked the beginning of a long and difficult road for Tessa that included more pain, multiple tests and failed treatments for torn muscles.


Several doctors’ visits later, a blood test revealed Tessa’s elevated white blood cell count. Her doctor immediately sent her to the hospital where further testing determined she had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a rare form of the disease.


Clay and Tessa have set up a temporary residence in Houston, Texas, while Tessa undergoes treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She recently completed her fourth cycle of chemotherapy and soon will require a stem cell transplant. So far she’s received an estimated 20 blood transfusions during the course of her treatment, some as frequently as every other day.


The outlook for Tessa is positive – the disease was quickly brought into remission – but she faces at least six more months of treatment.


While Clay describes the last three months as a “whirlwind,” he’s thankful for friends and family who helped organize an American Red Cross blood drive in Tessa’s honor.


“We’ve expressed the importance of blood donation and encouraged everyone we’ve come in contact with to donate,” Clay said. “While we certainly appreciate the contributions to Tessa, it’s important that blood donors making giving a habit.”


Donate blood in honor of Tessa Martin:

June 26 from noon to 6 p.m. at Faith United Methodist Church, 1402 Texas Ave., Woodward


Blood transfusions can be used for trauma victims, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, premature babies and for patients, like Tessa, receiving treatment for leukemia.

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) 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. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent 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 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.


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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCrossBloodCP.