New Jersey Blood Services (NJBS), a division of New York Blood Center (NYBC), is asking the community to donate blood on Thursday, July 20 in honor of 2 1/2-year-old brain tumor victim, Gracie Skuches and 4-year-old Lymphoma patient, Alex Hammer. The Blood Drive in Honor of Grace & Alex will be held from 2 pm - 8 pm at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 79 Pascack Road, Township of Washington, NJ. Visit www.nybc.org and use group code 68937 to make an appointment. Walk–ins are also welcome.
The New York Blood Center has declared a Blood Emergency. With less than a day’s supply on hand of some blood types, NJBS is appealing to the community to donate in honor of Gracie and Alex and other cancer victims in area hospitals.
At 6 months old, Gracie was diagnosed with Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdiod Tumor (ATRT), an extremely rare, very difficult to treat pediatric brain tumor. In the United States, around 30 new ATRT cases are diagnosed each year or three children per 1,000,000. Pediatric brain cancer is the second leading cause of childhood death, just after leukemia.
Gracie has suffered many setbacks. Although her tumor was removed, it recurred in January, 2016 which caused facial paralysis. She has endured chemotherapy, a stem cell harvest, and three stem cell rescues. She is currently receiving maintenance chemo. During Gracie’s multiple surgeries and chemotherapies, she has received more than 20 blood transfusions and 20 platelet transfusions. Her family and friends are hopeful for a positive outcome.
Alex was diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma the day before Thanksgiving, 2016. He is currently being treated at Hackensack Children's Hospital and has been through multiple rounds of heavy chemotherapy with many platelet and red cell transfusions to support his treatment. Alex is in remission, although his treatment will last another two years as T-cell lymphoma is a very aggressive cancer. He is currently 4 years old.
Please Consider Donating Blood
New Jersey Blood Services is urging all healthy persons to donate on Thursday, July 20 from 2:00pm-8:00 pm at the Gracie and Alex Community Blood Drive. Eligible donors should be 17 years of age, or 16 with parental consent. A NYBC Donor Card or signed or photo ID must be presented prior to donating.
Approximately every two seconds, someone needs blood, and one out of three people will need a life-saving blood transfusion in their lifetime. If all eligible blood donors gave at least twice a year, it would greatly help in maintaining and adequate blood supply.
To make an appointment to donate or to run a blood drive in your community, call toll free: 1-800-933-BLOOD (2566).
About Blood Donations
The entire donation process takes less than an hour and a single donation can be used to save multiple lives. Donors with O-negative blood type, or “universal donors,” are especially encouraged to donate, as their blood can be used in emergencies. Nearly 2,000 donations are needed each day in New York and New Jersey alone. About one in seven hospital admissions requires a blood transfusion, and with a limited shelf life, supplies must be continually replenished.
If you cannot donate but still wish to participate in bringing crucial blood products to patients in need, please ask someone to donate for you, or consider volunteering at a local blood drive.
Any company, community organization, place of worship, or individual may host a blood drive. Blood donors receive free mini-medical exams on site including information about their temperature, blood pressure and hematocrit level. Eligible donors include those people at least age 16 (parental consent is required for 16-year-olds), who weigh a minimum of 110 pounds, are in good health and meet all Food & Drug Administration and NY or NJ State Department of Health donor criteria. People age 76 or older may donate if they have a doctor’s note on file with New York Blood Center or if they bring one on the day of the blood drive.
About New York Blood Center
Now more than 50 years old, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the country. NYBC’s mission is to serve the 20 million people in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area — and more broadly, our nation and our world — by alleviating human suffering and preserving human life using our medical expertise.
Each year, NYBC provides approximately one million blood products to nearly 200 hospitals in the Northeast. NYBC also provides a wide array of transfusion-related medical services. NYBC is also home to the world’s largest public cord blood bank, which provides stem cells for transplant in many countries, and a renowned research institute, which — among other milestones — developed the hepatitis B vaccine and innovative blood purification technology.