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Replenishment blood drive planned in Scottdale for toddler with leukemia

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 9:04 p.m.

Sisters Julie Ritenour and Jennifer Olack have recently worked to put together a replenishment blood drive for Sydney Hawk, the granddaughter of friends Joe and Marty Hawk of Scottdale.

The drive is scheduled for 2-7 p.m. Monday at the Scottdale Fire hall.

Sydney Hawk, who just turned 4 on May 22, was diagnosed with leukemia March 5 after not responding to treatment for a sinus and ear infection. After being diagnosed, she began treatment.

But after only two chemotherapy sessions, she developed a severe infection on March 18 which caused her to spend 42 days in the Intensive Care Unit at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Currently, the Bridgeville toddler's leukemia is in remission, but she will continue to undergo a 2½- to 3-year protocol of preventative chemotherapy treatment.

According to Marty Hawk's online journal updating her granddaughter's condition, in recent weeks the chemotherapy treatments have continued to cause fevers and general discomfort for the toddler as she continues through the regiment of treatment.

On July 13, Marty Hawk posted that Sydney woke up complaining of a slight headache, had increased heart rate and a slight fever.

At first, doctors wanted to order a spinal tap, thinking that her headache was the result of increased intracranial pressure.

Blood cultures were drawn at 4 a.m., but the final consensus was that it was probably the chemotherapy delivered the day before that was the culprit of Sydney's symptoms.

Olack said they were really looking to do something for the family and thought that a blood drive would be much needed and appreciated.

Ritenour met with a representative from the Central Blood Bank and the event was scheduled.

The sisters are hoping the community will come out to help the toddler and her family in this simple way.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.