VAUXHALL, NJCommunity Blood Services will hold a blood and platelet drive on February 5 in the township in support of Jessica Piano Petti who recently had a bone marrow stem cell transplant to treat her leukemia.

The drive, being organized by friends and family of Jessica, will be held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Jefferson School gymnasium, 155 Hilton Avenue. Anyone who wants to schedule an appointment to donate can call 201-251-3703 or schedule online at www.communitybloodservices.com. Whole blood walk-ins are also welcome but an appointment is needed to donate platelets.

On July 4, 2013 what started out as a routine doctor’s visit for Jessica Petti turned into news that would forever change her life and the lives of her husband, Mike and 3-year-old son,  Nico. That day Jessica was diagnosed with leukemia. In November 2013 Jessica received a wonderful gift, a bone marrow stem cell transplant. After a difficult recovery she went into remission but on July 3, 2015 30-year-old Jessica was told her leukemia had returned. She underwent another bone marrow transplant on November 5, 2015at HackensackUMC and currently is at home recuperating.

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“Jessica’s friends and family are joining Jessica in her fight to get well,” said Kristin Nunes, the blood drive’s coordinator. Jessica and her husband, who live in East Hanover, grew up in Union and Jessica’s family has a business there, noting one of Jessica’s goals after her first transplant was to give back and help other patients like her.

This is the second blood drive to be scheduled to help patients like Jessica. The first drive on December 5 collected 139 life-giving units of blood, platelets and plasma.

“Please consider donating blood or platelets in loving support of Jessica,” Nunes added. Donors must be healthy, 17-75 years of age (16 and 17 years old with parental permission) and weigh at least 110 pounds.

Community Blood Services has been serving the community for more than 60 years. A not-for-profit organization, the blood center provides lifesaving blood and blood products to patients in more than 20 hospitals in New Jersey and New York.