When 8-year-old Jacqueline Rogers of Billerica, Massachusetts walked into an Red Cross blood drive in Boston recently, she stole the show. That wasn’t an easy thing to do with the Boston Bruins mascot in attendance.
Rogers was born with a congenital heart disorder and was scheduled to have open heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital in mid-January. However, her surgery was postponed due to a shortage of type O negative blood. Jacqueline and her parents, Alan and Valerie, decided to help raise awareness about the importance of donating blood so other patients don’t have to face a postponed surgery.
Media reports spread the young girl’s story and many donors drove long distances to attend the Boston blood drive in her honor. Some came from as far away as towns along the Canadian border. Rogers bravely thanked blood donors for their donations and danced and posed for photos in front of the media. Her vivacious personality put a smile on everyone’s face at the blood drive, which was held at TD Garden – home of the Boston Bruins. The event was co-sponsored by the Red Cross, Bob’s Discount Furniture and the Boston Bruins, and the Red Cross was able to collect almost 700 units of blood.
“Jacqueline has become the face of the patients we serve and her story underscores the constant need for blood donations, said Donna Morrissey, a Red Cross spokesperson. “There has been an outpouring of support and because of Jacqueline, people are putting compassion into action and donating blood.”
“On behalf of the patients at Boston Children’s Hospital, I thank all those who have responded to the urgent need by donating at the Red Cross, Boston Children’s Hospital, or other hospitals,” said Dr. Steven Sloan, Director of Pediatric Transfusion Medicine, Children’s Hospital. “This has been a great help, but it will take several days of people donating blood to ensure that we have enough blood for all our patients in the coming days and weeks. I urge people who couldn’t donate blood at this drive to donate in the near future.”
Rogers had her surgery on January 22 and her mother has said it went well. Everyone at the Red Cross wishes her a speedy recovery.
To donate blood to assist patients like Jacqueline, visit redcrossblood.org to schedule an appointment today.