Teaguen Donahue, a six-year-old girl from Greeneville, Tennessee, is no stranger to the importance of blood donations. She was born with von Willebrand disease, a genetic disorder that affects the blood's ability to clot, and has had to rely on regular blood donations from others to receive life-saving treatments. Now, Teaguen and her family, along with employees at Doak Elementary School, are giving back to the community by hosting a blood and toy drive to help others in need.
Teaguen's Type 2A von Willebrand disease diagnosis came after her parents, Cortni and Kyle, noticed that she would bleed excessively through bandages. Since then, Teaguen has received regular medical treatments through Niswonger Children’s Hospital, only possible because of donations to blood centers like Marsh Regional Blood Center. Her parents have organized a blood and toy drive called "Sweet T’s Blood Drive," which will be held on March 24th at Doak Elementary School in Tusculum.
The blood drive will be conducted by Marsh Regional Blood Center, the largest hometown supplier of blood and blood products for patients in the Appalachian Highlands. Marsh Regional supplies 21 regional medical facilities, multiple cancer centers, and five air rescue bases in Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky and is the sole provider of blood for Ballad Health.
In addition to donating blood, Teaguen's family also encourages donors to bring stuffed toys to donate to patients at Niswonger Children’s Hospital. Teaguen's love for stuffed animals, or "stuffies," provided comfort during her hospital stay, and her family hopes to bring that same comfort to other children in the hospital. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, stuffed animals can provide comfort and companionship for children in the hospital, especially those facing a serious illness or procedure.
Teaguen's story highlights the importance of blood donations, critical for many medical procedures, including surgeries, cancer treatments, and emergency care. The American Red Cross reports that someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. One donation can potentially save up to three lives. Donated blood is also used to make life-saving treatments for people with bleeding disorders like Teaguen's.
Teaguen's family is grateful for the care and investment they received at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, and they hope to give back to the community through this blood and toy drive. They encourage anyone eligible to come to donate during the blood drive. Donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in generally good health on the day of the drive. All donors will receive a T-shirt and snack. Blood donations are not required to participate in the stuffed toy drive.
For those who cannot attend the blood drive, there are many ways to donate blood in the United States. The American Red Cross operates blood donation centers nationwide and hosts mobile blood drives in communities. Other organizations, like Vitalant and OneBlood, also collect blood donations. Donors typically need to meet certain eligibility requirements, like being in good health, having a certain weight and age, and not having certain medical conditions or recent travel to certain countries.
Teaguen's story is one of perseverance and hope, and her family's efforts to give back to the community are inspiring. Donors can help save lives and comfort children in the hospital by participating in the blood and toy drive.
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