Community comes together for blood drive

Amanda Jimenez of Portales is overwhelmed by the community's response to her daughter's needs.

Her 9-year-old daughter Jaelyn Jimenez has been battling leukemia since she was 5, and the costs for her care have added up. Thursday's blood drive at Eastern New Mexico University, dedicated to Jaelyn, will help a great deal says Jaelyn's mother.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

ENMU freshman Mariah Ward, center, squeezes her boyfriend Andrew Rich's hand as phlebotomist David Belding draws her blood.

"It's great, being that we're a small community these people that don't even know her go out and donate their blood," Amanda Jimenez said.

The blood drive is considered a "credit to patient" drive, in which all blood donated during the drive that matches Jaelyn's blood type of O+ will be given directly to her, according to an official with United Blood Services of Lubbock, the blood center which provided Thursday's services for the blood drive.

Blood that doesn't matched her blood type can be exchanged for hers.

Amanda Jimenez said the donated blood will help reduce the costs of Jaelyn's weekly blood transfusions.

United Blood Services officials said nearly 60 people interviewed to have blood drawn and they estimate close to 100 pints of blood being collected for Jaelyn.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

ENMU junior Meghan Pearce of Clovis messes with her phone as she tries to distract herself from the blood being taken from her arm.

Here's a look at some of the people from ENMU who donated:

  • Meghan Pearce, a junior from Clovis, said she didn't mind losing 30 minutes of her day to help Jaelyn, especially because she has the same blood type as her.
    "It's just so neat to think I can actually do something to help," Pearce said.
    Pearce said she has given blood before, but the fact that she knows she will directly impact a local child makes it special.
    "I'm helping save a life," Pearce said.
  • Daniel Roesch, one of ENMU's admission and registration specialists, said the reason for donating blood is a no-brainer.
    "I do it just mostly because it's a good cause," Roesch said. "There's always a need for blood."
    Roesch wouldn't consider himself a pro at what others may get squeamish about doing, but it was his third time donating blood. He's happy that the donations will stay local.
    "You get to see the results," Roesch said. "It's just knowing you're helping someone in the community. I would want someone to do the same for me."
  • Junior Carl Smith of Carlsbad donated nearly two pints of blood. Smith said there's no question about it, if there's a blood drive, he's happy to donate.
    "I just do it every year, there's no special reason," Smith said.
    As a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, he believes it's important to walk the walk and promote community service all the time.
    "It feels good," Smith said. "Someone has to be here to take the initiative. That's why everyone is here, they took the initiative."
  • Mariah Ward, a freshman from Moriarty, said her rare blood type of O- is a major reason for why she donates.
    As a member of the Army National Guard, Ward said she doesn't get to participate in too many campus events, but she is always up for community service events that help others.
    "It can save a life, that's the biggest thing," Ward said.

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