Jennifer Heggelke of Binghamton brought her three-year-old son, Abel, to a walk-in care clinic because he had a stomachache. Hours later, Jennifer received the shocking diagnosis that Abel has Stage III neuroblastoma. According to the American Cancer Society, about 700 cases of neuroblastoma are diagnosed every year in the United States. This type of cancer starts most often affects young children.
Abel receives chemotherapy to fight the disease. Like many other cancer patients, Abel often needs blood transfusions after his treatments to help his body maintain his blood cell counts and prevent infections or bleeding.
“Abel is very strong and brave,” says Jennifer Heggelke. “He has an amazing sense of humor. He loves cars, engineering, dinorsaurs and the Power Rangers.”
A blood drive is being held in Abel’s honor to give hope and help to other patients in need of blood transfusions. Jennifer hopes eligible donors in Binghamton and surrounding communities help restock the shelves so that blood is available when patients need it.
The blood drive, in honor of Abel, will take place on Friday, April 21, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, and near The Shoe Depot.
To make an appointment to donate, call 1-800-REDCROSS or visit redcrossblood.org and use sponsor code: ABEL.