Hampton High School hosting blood drive
On Jan. 25, save a life by donating blood at Hampton High School.
The blood drive is being held 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and organizers want to spread awareness of how critical it is to donate blood, whether it's for a stranger or someone local, like Darran Dunlap, a kindergarten student at Poff Elementary.
Since her diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Nov. 7, Darran has been in continuous treatment, including daily medications, frequent visits to the emergency department, and ongoing chemotherapy. Darran, who will be turning 6 on Feb. 9 along with her twin brother, Declan, already has had a blood transfusion, so mom Raina knows how important blood donation is.
“The support from the community has been so amazing,” said Raina, who got the idea from her husband's cousin, Tina Fox.
There already is a shortage of blood donors nationally, and Pittsburgh's donor levels are even lower, said Fox, a registered nurse and Hampton resident.
As if potentially saving a life isn't reason enough, Team Darran has more incentives for those coming out.
For the first 200 who come, Pasquale's Pizza, with two Hampton locations, will be distributing coupons for free pizzas.
And blood drive participants will receive a raffle ticket for a gift basket with Pittsburgh Penguins tickets, gift cards and more, Fox said.
They'll also be selling Team Darran T-shirts and bracelets. The sales will benefit organizations in Darran's name at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
Fox said they also will be giving away “Tabs on Teuts” for Nox's Tavern and Grille in Blawnox. Anyone who visits the restaurant and shows some type of proof they contributed to the drive — whether through donation papers, raffle ticket stub or other ways — will receive free beverages at the restaurant.
Raina, 39, and Darran's dad, Colin, 40 — a host on CBS Pittsburgh Radio's KDKA-FM 93.7 The Fan — said they've been impressed by their daughter's resilience in fighting “Lu,” the name they gave to Darran's leukemia.
“She takes her (medicine). She sits there and realizes that it has to be done,” Raina said.
Raina said Darran was playing like any other child and they only took her to the emergency room because of a serious leg pain, which resulted in her diagnosis a day later.
“She's always been a little tough … as a mom, it's sometimes a little hard. But ‘Lu' doesn't stand a chance against her,” Raina said.
While the drive is from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Donna Dysert, a member of the parent-faculty association and volunteer for the blood drive, said they're allowing students to come in the morning and are requesting community members to come after 1:30 p.m. But, anyone wishing to arrive prior to that is welcome.
“The support we've been receiving from the community has been just incredible,” Colin said.
Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.