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Red Cross Hosting Will Walker Blood Drive Tuesday

The American Red Cross says they are heading into the holidays with their lowest blood supply in more than a decade at this time of year.

The ongoing effects of COVID-19 and a summer spike in delta variant cases significantly challenged the nation’s blood supply heading into the fall. The pandemic also resulted in fewer blood drives at schools and colleges, contributing to a 34% drop in new blood donors from last year − one of the largest year-to-year decreases and one that could threaten essential medical care for patients.

Locally, the Missouri-Arkansas Red Cross Region has experienced a 13.4% decrease in new blood donors this year.

In an effort to help combat the low supply and to memorialize a well known cancer warrior, the Red Cross is hosting a blood drive Tuesday in memory of Will Walker. The Will Walker Memorial Blood Drive will be held Tuesday, November 23 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the East Hills Shopping Center in St. Joseph.

The Red Cross says donors of all type are need but those with type O blood are especially needed to donate.

To make an appointment to donate use the Red Cross Blood Donor App or visit RedCrossBlood.org, and enter sponsor code: EASTHILLS, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Will Walker was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma when he was just 9 years old.

The cancer was discovered by accident, according to family friend. His Little League baseball coach was working with him to help his hitting. When he grabbed Will’s arm to extend it, the pain forced the boy to his knees.

Initial doctor’s visits suggested the problem was a cyst in his elbow, but a sample was checked and found to be cancerous.

Although he tried, the surgeon was unable to remove all of the cancer. At one point, doctors amputated his arm to try to corral the cancer cells. Since then, Will had three recurrences of the tumors, and exhausted any traditional medical treatments.

Doctors identified at least 20 tumors throughout his body, mostly in his torso, and required multiple blood transfusions. Will participated in his third medical trial, while attending school at Savannah R-3 and working part-time.

Walker’s courageous battle with synovial sarcoma ended November 15, 2021.

 



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