Blood recipient honored as hero by Red Cross chapter

March 23, 2012

OMAHA, Neb. – On March 14, the American Red Cross Nebraska/Southwest Iowa Chapter Region honored 11-year-old Bryan Botkin as a hero in an Omaha, Neb. ceremony.

Aided by a positive attitude and numerous blood and platelet transfusions, Bryan battled Ewing’s sarcoma – a juvenile bone cancer – and successfully beat what he dubbed “Tony the Tumor.” He endured 14 hospital stays, 49 chemotherapy and radiation treatments to get rid of Tony.

Bryan’s heroism extends beyond his diagnosis and going into remission – he is truly a Red Cross Gift of Life hero for his tireless work to inspire others to give lifesaving blood and platelets.

Bryan and his parents, Craig and Janet Botkin, graciously agreed to share their story to help support the 2010 Red Cross Holiday Blood Drives. Not only did Bryan appear in commercials and media stories supporting the blood drive, he and his parents also recruited family and friends to give blood and volunteered their time at the blood drive. Because of their support, the Midwest Region greatly exceeded its blood drive goal.

“At that blood drive, Bryan was there greeting everybody,” said Janet. “He was going up to them, thanking them and saying, ‘Thank you so much for coming. It means so much that you are here.’ And, when you see a kid – bald – coming up to you full of energy and saying ‘You are making a difference in my life – you are changing the world.’ I think that’s a really powerful message, but to him, he was just saying thank you.” 

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 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 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 more than 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 join our blog at