A blood drive in honor of a local student — as well as to help her with her blood needs — will be held Monday at Fletcher Memorial Baptist Church. Thirteen-year-old Southeast Bulloch Middle School student Rebecca Carnes said Thursday she appreciates any help.
The soft-spoken teen was born with Spina bifida and Hydrocephalus, which has made her life a difficult journey. Now, she faces more challenges with the recent diagnosis of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL).
Rebecca's story can be followed at www.caringbridge.org/visit/rebeccacarnes1 - a Web site dedicated to those facing critical health care issues such as she faces. According to the site, Rebecca has had over 58 surgeries. On the site, her family states, "We ask for prayers daily."
Fletcher Memorial minister Brian Bulmer said the blood drive is an effort to help Rebecca with her blood needs, but also a drive for any type of blood to help others, conducted in honor of the teen Rebecca has O positive blood type, but people of all blood types are encouraged to donate.
People can walk in or sign up for a time at www.igiveblood.com, he said.
Rebecca was a bit shy Thursday as she talked about the blood drive from the safety of her home. She is quarantined, since her immune system is compromised due to her illness and treatment, Julie Carnes said.
As for the blood drive, Rebecca said, “It's nice. I like it. It will help me a lot and I appreciate it."
The teen enjoys the things most girls her age do, in spite of her challenges. She rides horseback with the Stirrup Some Fun program, loves her dog King Louis, likes to watch her favorite TV programs and is a Facebook addict, her mom said.
But when she isn't being a normal teenager, Rebecca endures a great deal in battling her health issues. She has had four blood transfusions, five platelet transfusions, and two plasma transfusions, Julie said.
Her treatments are "wiping out her immune system and slowly rebuilding it," she said.
Bulmer said his church wanted to do something to help the Carnes family, and decided to hold a blood drive.
"Our church is a very ministry-oriented church and desired to do something for Rebecca and her family," he said. "As a church we wanted to pour back into their lives. People just jumped on board like crazy (volunteering for the drive.) It has been really exciting to see people rally around her."
The blood drive will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Fletcher Memorial Baptist Church on Lakeview Road Monday, March 29.
For more information about the drive call the church at (912) 489-8581.