WAPAKONETA — The American Red Cross is inviting the community to donate blood in honor of a Wapakoneta girl who died of cancer.
A blood drive for Anna Rebecca Eisert and other children battling cancer will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday at First English Lutheran Church in Wapakoneta.
“Hosting this blood drive in her name is a wonderful way to honor Anna and help patients in need,” said Jeri Garringer, account manager for the Red Cross Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region.
As a 1-year-old, Anna was diagnosed with high risk neuroblastoma, an aggressive solid tumor cancer that typically occurs in young children. Before beginning the final phase of treatment, she suffered a relapse and passed away Nov. 3, just before her second birthday.
Blood and platelet transfusions were a vital part of her care, said Anna’s mother, Erin Eisert.
“She had dozens of transfusions over the course of 11 months,” Eisert said. “It’s thanks to wonderful people who are able to donate that she was able to have a fighting chance.”
Eisert described her daughter as “funny, smart, sassy and as tough as they came.” She said she loved her dog and enjoyed singing. The Eisert family hopes the Wapakoneta community will give blood in Anna’s honor.
The blood drive in Anna’s memory comes at an important time for the Red Cross, according to a press release from the organization. Now and throughout the holiday season, the Red Cross has a “critical need for blood and platelet donations to help ensure patient needs continue to be met,” the press release stated.
Every two seconds in the United States, blood and platelets are needed to respond to patient emergencies, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients at some 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima