BY MELANIE BUCK –
A hugely successful blood drive was held last Thursday at Grace Bible Church in Mena. The blood drive was scheduled as the ‘Faith Gives Back – Annual Blood Drive’ event, being named after Faith Chaney, who is battling Aplastic Anemia. However, upon hearing about fellow church member Ty Thacker’s newly diagnosed condition, Acute Lymphoid Leukemia Strain B, Faith’s father had the idea of dedicating the drive to Ty. All blood donated at the drive was converted into a ‘credit’ system to reduce the costs of any blood transfusions Ty may need.
“Faith Gives Back is about helping to give blood to save lives of other people and we are beyond excited to have helped potentially save someone’s life, especially someone we know,” state Kathy Perez, grandmother of Faith.
The Arkansas Blood Institute (ABI) set up one bus to receive donors and quickly found that it was not enough. In the end, 10-12 donors were turned away due to the bus running out of supplies to accept more blood. Perez stated that the family apologizes for turning any donors away and also for the long wait. In an effort to make the process quicker, several computers were set up inside the church so that donors could fill out their paperwork and questionnaires before they reached the bus. Perez also said that Greg Womack of ABI promised that next year there would be two buses to make sure that all are able to donate and not have such a long wait time. In total, 55 people were processed and tested and 44 of those were able to donate.
Thankful of the support given to Faith and Ty, the Chaney family is looking forward to helping others through ‘Faith Gives Back’ and would like to continue what they’ve started. “From now on, unless Faith gets critical again, we’re going to try to find someone who needs blood that we can help,” stated Perez.