Special blood drive held in honor of Binghamton toddler: Binghamton and surrounding communities encouraged to give blood

April 13, 2017

Jennifer Heggelke of Binghamton brought her three-year-old son, Abel, to a walk-in care clinic because he had a stomache ache.  Hours later, Jennifer received the shocking diagnosis that Abel has Stage III neuroblastoma.  According to the American Cancer Society, about 700 cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed every year in the United States.  This type of cancer starts most often affects young children.

Abel receives chemotherapy to fight the disease.  Like many other cancer patients, Abel often needs blood transfusions after his treatments to help his body maintain his blood cell counts and prevent infections or bleeding.

“Abel is very strong and brave,” says Jennifer Heggelke.  “He has an amazing sense of humor. He loves cars, engineering, dinosaurs and the Power Rangers.”

A blood drive is being held in Abel’s honor to give hope and help to other patients in need of blood transfusions. Jennifer hopes eligible donors in Binghamton and surrounding communities help restock the shelves so that blood is available when patients need it.

Donate Blood in Honor of Abel

Friday, April 21

1 – 6 p.m.

Oakdale Mall, near The Shoe Depot

Harry L. Drive, Johnson City

To make an appointment to donate, call 1-800-REDCROSS or visit redcrossblood.org and use sponsor code ABEL.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. The Red Cross must collect nearly 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients in need. In the New York-Penn Region which includes New York and 10 counties in Pennsylvania, approximately 1000 units are collected every day to serve patients in about 90 hospitals.  Blood and platelets are needed for accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.

During National Volunteer Month in April, the Red Cross celebrates the millions of volunteers who help fulfill its lifesaving mission and invites others to get involved.  Nearly 2.8 million generous people donated blood or platelets through the Red Cross last year. Volunteers are the only source of blood and platelets for hospital patients in need of transfusions.

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org 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 donors can now 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, prior to arriving at the blood drive. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.

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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.