By Jan Hale, American Red Cross
In January 2015, Raeleigh Vasquez was diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer that left her unable to walk. With the help of chemotherapy, skilled doctors and nurses, and blood and platelet transfusions, Raeleigh is now in remission and walking again.
For the second year in a row, to honor Raeleigh and draw attention to the ongoing need for blood, Raeleigh’s family is sponsoring an American Red Cross blood drive. This year, it will be held on Sunday, June 5, from noon to 6 p.m. at Sunnyvale High School, 2222 North Collins, Sunneyvale, Texas.
“It’s been a difficult 18 months,” said Brittnee Hogue, Raeleigh’s mom. “But Raeleigh is in remission and walking, and we are so grateful to everyone who helped get us to this point. I will never know who donated the blood my little girl received, but I can help make sure it’s available for others who will need it.”
The drive in Raeleigh’s honor comes at a particularly difficult time for the Red Cross. Many schools where blood drives are held are out of session during the summer months. This makes the summer an especially difficult time to collect enough blood to meet the needs of hospital patients. Right now, blood donations are being distributed to hospitals as quickly as donations come in.But patients, like Raeleigh, don’t get a summer holiday or vacation from needing blood.
Those who come to donate at the drive in honor of Raeleigh can enjoy an on-site cookout, courtesy of Suburban Propane. Suburban Propane and the Red Cross have worked together to raise awareness about blood donation since 2012, and this is the second summerlong national partnership.
To donate blood at the drive in honor of Raeleigh, simply download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org and use sponsor code sunnyvalehs or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information.
How to donate blood
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.
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.