Jennings County residents are being encouraged to donate blood in support of a local boy who is battling a form of blood cancer.
Jonah Kreutzjans, a kindergartner at Graham Creek Elementary School, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in June of 2016.
The benefit blood drive, conducted by the American Red Cross, is 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Sand Creek Elementary School, 1450 W. County Road 500N, North Vernon.
All results from an acquired or a genetic injury to the DNA of a developing stem cell in the bone marrow, and progresses rapidly without treatment. The cancer also can spread to other areas such as the central nervous system and the lymph nodes. Treatments often include chemotherapy and stem cell transplants, according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s website.
Jonah, who turned 6 in February, is the son of Greg and Courtney Kreutzjans. Jonah has received several blood transfusions and may need more as treatment continues.
“I spoke with Jonah a couple of days ago, and he seems to be doing well, but he does have a long road ahead,” said Donna Watkins, who organizes blood drives for the American Red Cross in the Indiana Central District.
Jonah loves playing baseball, cheering for the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs, and playing with his two younger brothers.
“Our family appreciates having a blood drive in honor of our son,” said Courtney Kreutzians. “We hope that his story and fight with cancer will continue to raise awareness of childhood cancer.”
All blood types are needed at all times, Watkins said, because hospitals can keep donated blood for only 42 days, so blood must be replaced routinely.
“Giving blood in honor of Jonah helps Jonah, but it also helps many others who also need blood. The need is constant,” Watkins said.
Those who give blood can use the free Red Cross blood donor app to track it from the time of donation until it is given to the person needing it, Watkins added.
To give blood to the Red Cross, download the donor app, go online at redcrossblood.org or call 800-733-2767 to make an appointment, or receive more information.