This year’s fall blood drive will benefit Children’s Hospital in honor of science teacher Melanie Toth’s three-year-old son Benjamin, who the hospital is treating for leukemia. The Hospital’s Bloodmobile came to school Oct. 24 and will return Oct. 30.
Art resource teacher Nancy Mornini wanted to find a way for the school community to support the Toth family, she said. Toth’s blog on Benjamin’s CaringBridge webpage states the best way to help is to give blood, Mornini said. Mornini then spoke with principal Alan Goodwin and SGA advisor Sheryl Freedman about doing the annual blood collection, which normally benefits Virginia’s Inova hospitals, in Benjamin’s name.
“Dr. Goodwin really took the bull by the horns,” she said. “He picked up the phone, got a contact for Children’s and found out how to make it happen.”
Eligible donors have to be 17 or older and weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors must sign up in advance because space on the Bloodmobile is limited.
No more than 30 can give in one day, donor recruiter Angela Lockley said.
The hospital’s goal is to have 50 donors during the two-day drive, Lockley said. Twenty donated on the 24th. Six others attempted to donate but were disqualified, she said.
Donors were happy to hear that the drive was honoring Benjamin.
“It feels good to help people,” senior Jessica Yen said.
Parent Erica Eager donated to express her appreciation of Children’s Hospital’s treatment of her own family and friends.
“It’s an amazing facility. They make every child who walks in smile,” she said.
Mornini has been fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since her daughter’s best friend died of lymphoma two years ago.
“I just know how hard it is to deal with this,” she said.
Science teacher Janice Bauroth told Toth Oct. 22 that the blood drive would be in Benjamin’s honor.
“The staff and students have been so supportive with their prayers and gifts,” Toth said in a text message. “I have seen first-hand many children receiving blood and blood products in the hematology ward at Children’s Hospital. Blood donation is truly the gift of life for patients and I am inspired daily with the courage of my son and others battling cancer.”