Red Cross official sees blood donation help save her grandson

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) As executive director for the American Red Cross in central and western Nebraska. Rachelle Lipker frequently is asking people to donate blood. Now, she has even more reason to be thankful that people have answered that call.

Four weeks ago, Lipker's 15-month-old grandson Elliott needed surgery to have a volleyball sized tumor removed. Doctors say it was kidney cancer.

After surgery, Elliott needed a blood transfusion.

"Knowing we had safe blood available for Elliott in case he needed it was so important to us," said Lipker. "And having it there when he did need it was really reassuring."

Lipker said the blood was a life-saving product and that without it, Eliott's recovery would have been much slower.

She says he is doing fine now, but does require chemotherapy treatments. That can often lead to another need for blood, but Lipker knows it that's the case, they'll be ready.

"That's why we just ask to please roll up your sleeve and help out."

Lipker says donations often drop during the holiday season, so she encourages anyone that to donate in the coming weeks.

Anyone donating at the Grand Island office of the Red Cross from November 21 through 24 will be able to receive a long sleeve T-shirt.

Lipker says nationwide 2500 platelet donations and 13-thousand blood donations are needed each day to supply 2600 hospitals.

To make an appointment and to learn more about blood donations, you can visit the Red Cross web site or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Lipker knows that every time she holds her grandson, she is grateful that people are willing to make this life saving donation.