March 25, 2019
Having a readily available blood supply is critical for patients who experience traumatic injuries, have blood disorders like anemia, are receiving organ transplants, and, surprisingly to many, for patients undergoing cancer treatment.
John Patrick Nicholson fought medulloblastoma, the most common type of brain tumor in children, for seven years. Along with chemotherapy, he received several blood transfusions as part of his treatment. Though Nicholson had been through a lot, he never gave up hope, using his time and talents to help others going through similar illnesses. In May of 2018, he joined his peers at St. John Paul II Newman Center in holding an American Red Cross blood drive in his honor, sharing his story as means to encourage his friends and family to donate blood, many for the first time.
Sadly, John Patrick passed away in September at just 22 years old. He left behind a legacy of giving, one that is carried on by his JPII Newman family. After a successful blood drive last spring in John Patrick’s honor, they are hosting one again this year, this time in his memory.
“JPII’s strong community focus and steadfast faith shine throughout the entire process of planning the blood drive,” said Teri Vitallo, Red Cross Donor Recruitment account manager. “It’s incredible to see the impact the staff and students make for patients in need of blood when they work together. It’s even more beautiful to see the care they put into honoring John Patrick in a way that would have meant a lot to him.”
The blood drive in memory of John Patrick comes at an important time. While much of Nebraska and southwest Iowa deals with devastating flooding, blood donations have taken a hit. In the month of March alone, the Red Cross has had to cancel more than 350 donations because of impassable roads and damaged buildings across the region. As Nebraskans and Iowans band together, rolling up their sleeves to help their neighbors, they can also roll up their sleeve to donate much-needed blood. John Patrick would have surely been in the mix, doing whatever he could to provide help and comfort.
Individuals of all blood types – especially type O – are needed to give at the blood drive in memory of John Patrick. Make an appointment here. To learn more about blood donation, visit RedCrossBlood.org.
Samantha Pollard | External Communications Manager, American Red Cross Blood Services