Local family encourages people to consider being blood donors

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - You could be helping a Hastings boy in his fight against cancer by donating your blood.

Fenton Sund is your typical 11-year-old. He goes to Hastings Middle School, and enjoys playing baseball and basketball. Sund said his favorite positions to play in baseball is pitcher and catcher.

He also enjoys playing with their new puppy, who the family got about three weeks ago.

But the Sund's lives were forever changed when Fenton was diagnosed with Euwing Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, in late November.

Paula Sund said it started when Fenton was experiencing back pain. They thought it was from a sledding incident, but found out it was something much worse.

"It was devastating. Our entire life turned upside down in a matter of hours," said Paula Sund, Fenton's mom. "But we're hopeful, and we're grateful for all the doctors and nurses and pretty much anyone who's helped us in our journey."

Paula Sund said Fenton has had two blood transfusions in the past two months, a reality that's helping her son from getting more sick.

The blood transfusions are part of Fenton's treatment, along with chemo and radiation.

She said if Fenton's white blood cell count is too low, he's more likely to get sick with things like pneumonia. That could put him in the hospital for a long time.

"It can help people from getting very sick," said Fenton Sund. "I could've got pretty sick from not getting the blood transfusion."

Officials with the Red Cross said they're back on emergency need for blood donors.

Jeremy Aupperlee, account manager with the American Red Cross Midwest Region, said they've had many drive get cancelled this winter.

He said the need is 24/7, and doesn't lessen just because there's less blood drives.

"We always tell people you never know when it's going to be you or a loved one you know that's going to require these transfusions. All these people are volunteering. They're volunteering their own time to come and give. One hour makes a huge difference. It saves three lives. It gives that little boy an opportunity to live longer," Aupperlee said.

Paula Sund said Fenton could be continuing treatment for a year. She said they're expecting he'll need more blood transfusions as the treatment continues.

If you're interested in donating blood, the Red Cross has several opportunities. You can find them at https://www.redcrossblood.org/.

Local4 is sponsoring a blood drive from noon to 7 p.m. on February 26 throughout the Tri-Cities.

They are as follows:
-Calvary Lutheran Church in Grand Island
-The Red Cross Chapter in Kearney
-The Imperial Mall in Hastings