Two blood drives this week honor the legacy of two Callaway County youths.
The American Red cross will host a blood drive Monday in memory of Braeden Sconce. The annual Super Sam Memorial Blood Drive, in memory of Sam Santhuff, is planned for Wednesday and Thursday.
This is the third blood drive organized by the parents of Braeden Sconce. Sconce graduated from South Callaway High School in 2017 and was attending Moberly Area Community College in Columbia. On Feb. 4, 2018, Sconce was driving home through Lebanon to watch his beloved Philadelphia Eagles play the Super Bowl when his car spun out on ice, crashed and caught fire.
After receiving 22 units of red blood cells, plus platelets, Braeden was airlifted for surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. He passed away Feb. 27 due to brain injuries sustained in the crash. According to the ARC, the blood and platelet donations gave Sconce's family more time with him and helped preserve his organs for donation.
"Hospital workers were able to get the bleeding under control thanks to blood donors," said Shelly Sconce, Braeden's mother. "Braeden loved to give blood, and he has inspired us to become more active in donating and encouraging others to give."
Previous blood drives organized by the family netted a hundred donations. Monday's drive will take place from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m at Callaway Electric Cooperative (1313 Cooperative Drive, Fulton). To sign up, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-733-2767.
The Super Sam Memorial Blood Drive, organized by Super Sam Foundation, is in its seventh year.
Giving blood is one of the easiest ways to help "all the kids" fighting childhood cancer, as the foundation's slogan goes.
Sam Santhuff was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. His treatment included numerous surgeries, chemotherapy, blood transfusions and radiation treatments. In addition, Sam had to live apart from his family for a month to receive specialized radiation, later spending 100 days in isolation for a bone marrow transplant.
Sam needed blood frequently, receiving more than 140 transfusions over the course of his treatment. Blood of Sam's type sometimes had to be couriered from Kansas City to Columbia. Each transfusion gave Sam the energy to play with his sister, enjoy a story or pull a prank, his mother, Cassie Santhuff, wrote in a recent Facebook post.
Ultimately, the care Sam received was not enough to defeat the disease; he died Sept. 19, 2014. Santhuff has often spoken of Sam's empathy for other children fighting childhood cancer. At his urging, Santhuff went on to co-found the Super Sam Foundation. Today, SSF raises funds for research, supports the siblings of children with cancer through comfort packs and, of course, organizes the SSF Memorial Blood Drive.
Santhuff decided it was important to carry out the annual drive, despite the ongoing pandemic, with added precautions in place.
"Kids are fighting cancer despite the pandemic; they still need blood products," she wrote.
This year, the Fulton High School Student Council will help host the drive at Fulton High School's gym from noon-6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. The drive is typically hosted at First Christian Church, but the ongoing pandemic necessitated a larger space so social-distancing measures can be followed.
Those who donate blood will receive homemade cookies and Super Sam Foundation or Cardinals swag. Cookies will be individually wrapped for added safety.
Appointments are strongly suggested. To register, visit redcrossblood.org or enter the sponsor code SUPERSAM, or call 636-699-8850 or 573-220-5116.
All types of blood are urgently needed at the moment, according to the American Red Cross.
Those with types O, A negative and B negative blood are encouraged to make a Power Red donation at this blood drive. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact.
In order to ensure blood drives are safe for donors and staff alike, the ARC is now requiring all donors to wear a mask or face covering while at a drive. Staff will also wear face coverings. Donors can expect to have their temperature checked and should stay 6 feet apart from others whenever possible.
A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors younger than 18 also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
To learn more, visit recross.org.