Newark, NJ—A blood drive to honor three local students who either fought or are currently fighting cancer. It will be held on June 7 at Abington Avenue School, 209 Abington Avenue in Newark.
The blood drive will be held in room 3 from 1-7 p.m.
Residents can make an appointment in advance and walk-ins are welcome as well.
“We’re doing this to honor them and to help,” said school vice principal Sandy Heintz of three students who attended the school and battled or are battling cancer.
Heintz said the idea for the event came to her while she was donating blood herself.
“I was sitting there giving blood and I was talking to the technician,” said Heintz, who was explaining that she was upset that she was only able to give on unit of one unit of platelets and one unit of plasma. The person drawing her blood then informed her that the multiple units of whole blood can be used to make platelets, which cancer patients often need.
“That was when I thought this is what we should be doing," Heintz said.
There will be a table where people can write get well cards for sick children. At another station students will write down their hopes to create the Abington Hope Chain made of paper daisies.
Students will also interview people who donate blood and put their responses and names on large paper blood drops to be included on a “wall of heroes”.
“We’ve had several kids in the past couple of years who have had cancer and there are a lot of people in the school who wanted to help,” said Heintz. “We wanted to make a large effort as a whole school.”
There will be a bake sale with the proceeds to benefit the Valarie Fund. The Valerie Fund’s mission is to provide individualized care close to home to children with cancer and blood disorders.
“The Valerie Fund has helped many of our children who have been sick,” said Heintz. “They’ve done a lot for our kids who have been ill.”
The organizers are hoping for as many residents as possible to come and donate blood.
“The important thing is that when there are bad things happening you have to turn it around and turn it into something productive and hopeful,” said Heintz.
With several students fighting cancer in recent years Heintz said there has been an emotional toll on the students and staff.
“We’re sad. We’ve had sick children in our school. We care about these children,” said Heintz. “I want everyone to feel, yes, we are sad but we’re also doing something. I think that’s an important life lesson.”