Faith Chaney, along with family and friends invite the community to join them in supporting the local blood supply this summer by giving blood and reminding others of the importance of blood donations to the local blood provider. Faith herself received numerous blood transfusions and other blood products for the treatment of a chronic illness in recent years.
Faith had contracted a rare disease known as Aplastic Anemia and her bone marrow was no longer producing any blood cells or platelets. After much research, the family was led to a Wisconsin hospital where she received a bone marrow transplant from an anonymous donor in 2008, at the age of 5. As required with most donor registries, anonymity is maintained for the first year however, Faith and her family now know that Richard Laboissonniere of Rhode Island is responsible for saving her life.
Since then, Faith and her family now host an annual blood drive known as “Faith Gives Back,” in an effort to pay forward what they received.
Blood donors will not only save lives in local hospitals when they donate with Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI), they also receive two free passes to the Tulsa Zoo and “Stand Out. Give Blood.” T-shirts.
Anyone who is healthy and 16 years or older is encouraged to donate from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m., on Thursday, July 16, at Grace Community Church in their Family Life Center.
Patients who receive blood exclusively from ABI donors include those in Mena Regional Health System, Sparks Regional Medical Center, and Mercy Fort Smith. In fact, Arkansas Blood Institute provides every drop of blood needed to 18 medical facilities in the state.
All blood types are needed, but those with O-negative type blood are especially encouraged to donate. Although it is present in only nine percent of the U.S. population, it can be used by anyone in an emergency situation, according to the American Association of Blood Banks. This creates an immense and constant need for blood donors with O-negative blood.
Appointments are not required to donate at this blood drive, but can be made by calling Greg Womack at 479-652-2362 or visiting www.arkbi.org.