Many turn out in support of the Sabriya’s Castle of Fun’s Blood Drive and show their support of children with life threatening blood disorders.
On March 16, Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation, the Los Angeles Sentinel and the Bakewell Company, in collaboration with Children’s Hospital LA, hosted a blood drive that benefited the patients at the hospital’s Blood Donor Center. The blood drive was located on Crenshaw Boulevard in front of the LA Sentinel/Bakewell Media Office.
To give blood, the donor must have been at least 17 years of age, possess a photo I.D., and weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors received energy giving snacks, water and were entered into a drawing to win one of several prizes.
Among the first to give blood were Mellissa Watkins and Darryl Patterson. They each won the prizes of a Sabriya’s Castle of Fun T-shirt, a Bakewell Media Mug, a DVD of the movie Flight and tickets to the Philharmonic (Walt Disney Concert Hall). Watkins, Annual Giving Director at the Los Angeles Food Bank said, “I gave blood because I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life. It was my first time, and I thought it was time to face my fears and just do it!”
Music was provided by KJLH’s Big Rock who broadcasted live on air for the entire event. 94.7 The Wave was also there and stayed all day entertaining the blood donors who ate food provided by BD Burgers, owned by Brian Sawyers, the Father of Amber Sawyers, a young girl who passed away in 1999 of a rare blood disease. BD Burgers donated the burgers and mouth-watering lemonade, which topped off the meals for the day.
The day brought out many who spoke about the importance of giving blood and saving lives. “This is an opportunity for us to show our good will and support towards children of color suffering from leukemia, sickle cell disease and other blood disorders,” said Danny Bakewell Sr. regarding the significance of African-American donors. “Patients of African descent needing blood to assist in their treatment have a greater chance of success when receiving blood from a donor of African descent.”
Lonnie Johnson, a 72-years old retired military Air Force Administrative Specialist, with a rare blood type gives regularly because she knows the importance of giving, “My blood type is ‘O positive’ and rare. They use my blood for the babies and everybody. It's needed.”
Bringing a friend to give blood saves even more lives. Todd Harris, an Investment Consultant with New York Life added to that statement, “My friend Dave of New York Life encouraged me to come. It was my first time giving blood. I learned a lot. I loved it. Rene [the phlebotomist from Children’s Hospital] made it real easy and comfortable for me. He said that you can give up to six times per year. Giving blood takes seven minutes. In those seven minutes you save two kids’ lives.”
Recording Artist Leland, who came out to give blood stated, “I think it is a positive event where you can save a life. I just want to be a part of that.”
Among the other notable Los Angelenos who showed their support by giving blood included Mayoral Candidate Wendy Greuel, Senator Curren D. Price Jr. and music producer Kenneth Crouch.
Pamela Bakewell, President of Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation, was elated with the turn-out of the community and with the Foundation’s corporate friends, like Gwen Givens-Jones of Bank of America, who brought a team of volunteers from the bank to give blood. Pamela commented, “Sabriya’s Castle of Fun was founded to bring joy, happiness and love to children with cancer. Today, our community displayed their love for these children by giving blood and saving lives, and for that, we are grateful.”
For more information on Sabriya’s Castle of Fun Foundation, please go to www.sabriyascastle.org or call (323) 291-0009. For information about Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Blood Donor Center go to www.chla.org/giveblood.