American Red Cross to host blood drive in West Frankfort, Ill. in honor of local child

October 31, 2013

Two year old Joy Conley battling GVHD


WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (Nov. 4, 2013) – Joy Conley is only two-and-a-half years old, but has spent most of her young life fighting illness. In 2011, when she was 5 months old, Joy was diagnosed with leukemia. Following a bone marrow transplant earlier this year, Joy is cancer-free but now faces another disease: graft versus host disease, or GVHD.


As part of her treatment for GVHD, Joy regularly undergoes a process known as photopheresis. Each photopheresis session involves the transfusion of red blood cells. Joy’s mother, Nikki Conley, knows full well how blood donors have helped her daughter, and encourages donors to give blood Nov. 18 in Joy’s honor.


“If it weren’t for people giving, Joy wouldn’t be here,” said Nikki Conley. “You don’t really understand how important donating blood is until you’re sitting where I am. Donating blood is the most selfless thing a person can do.”


Joy Conley Blood Drive

Nov. 18 from 2 to 6 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church

1 West Frankfort Plaza in West Frankfort, Ill.


Discover the true meaning of giving this holiday season. The holidays bring families and friends together in hopeful times to share in celebrations and special times of giving. For families dealing with a cancer diagnosis or other major illness, their holidays may not be so hopeful. Give someone hope by giving the generous gift of a blood donation. Each donation you make can help save up to three lives. What better gift could you possibly give this time of year?


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 @RedCross.