Woman shares granddaughter's story to encourage blood, bone marrow donation

Victoria Anna

POSTED: Friday, June 13, 2014 - 12:06pm

UPDATED: Monday, June 16, 2014 - 8:13am

United Blood Services in El Paso is World Blood Donor Day on Saturday, June 14.  The event services to raise awareness of the need for blood and bone marrow donors.

"It's the only way that hospitals can receive blood and make sure that the patients there get the blood that is needed," said LuAnn Wieland with UBS.

Victoria Anna, a donor advocate, shares her granddaughter's story to encourage others to help save lives.

Jessica Ard was only four years old when she was diagnosed with Leukemia.  Her family, including her grandmother Victoria, remained optimistic while she waited for a donor.

"She would say, 'Grandma, I'm going to die.'  After you saying, 'No you're not,' she'd say it again. I finally said, 'Ok, so what are we going to do?'"

Victoria said that is when Jessica started to spread the word that everyone can help.

"It took her out of the pain and suffering that she was going into and it gave her purpose," said Victoria.

Jessica went through Chemotherapy and beat cancer, but Victoria said her granddaughter's triumph was temporary.

"She tells me, 'Grandma my cancer is back.' And I said. 'What do you mean?' And she reaches up into her hair and she pulls a hand full of hair out."

Even with the second round of chemo and the support of her family, Jessica could not overcome the disease.

Now her grandmother is making sure her legacy lives on.  Victoria compiled two books with messages from people Jessica encountered, including a United Blood Services supervisor who said Jessica helped him rediscover his purpose to continue saving lives.

Victoria read a part of the letter that said, "She gave me another reason to tear up my un-submitted resignation letter." 

The World Blood Donor Day drive will be held at all three UBS locations Saturday from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The locations are:

  • 424 S Mesa Hills Dr.
  • 20 Concord St.
  • 1338 N Zaragoza Rd.

Donors will be treated to special giveaways that include Ice cream, a WBDD commemorative t-shirt, and a stress ball. Their names will also be included in a raffle for a one year supply of milk, and another raffle for a one year supply of ice cream.

Various local restaurants will provide food for donors throughout the day.

For more information, or to schedule a blood drive at a business, call 915-544-5422.


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