Red Cross blood drive in memory of James Stryker Anderson to be held in Unionville

Red Cross

Unionville will be the site of a Red Cross blood drive Monday, July 18th.

The American Red Cross has issued an emergency request for all blood types as there is a significant blood shortage.  Blood donors can help ease the shortage by giving the at the July 18 blood drive sponsored by the Unionville Rotary Club.  The drive is from 1 to 6 pm. at the 4-H building, located at the city park in Unionville.

The July 18 drive is designated as a memorial to James Stryker Anderson.  Stryker, the infant son of Jesse and Joni Anderson, was stricken with Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN). 

The blood disorder, while very rare in adults, had never been diagnosed in an infant.  He received a bone marrow transplant, but contracted graft-host disease and passed away in February 2016.  Stryker received numerous blood transfusions in the many months he was treated.  Joni says, “One thing we didn’t realize is how much blood is needed for pediatric cancer patients.  “One day . . . I heard on the radio while driving that blood banks were low and my heart sank!! This would ultimately affect Stryker and us. His life, our blessing, flowed from donors!”

Throughout his illness, Joni maintained an inspirational Team Stryker Facebook page, which has over 6,200 followers.  People from all over the region watched for Team Stryker posts and updates.  Stryker was on prayer lists of many churches.  “We learned how big God’s Kingdom is here on earth and that maybe seeing some pain and suffering would be good to encourage compassion in this world where no one seems to notice another’s pain.” 

Stryker’s brother Leighton (12) and sister Alyssa (7) stayed with relatives and friends during Stryker’s illness so Jesse and Joni could be at the hospital.   Joni says, “They’re mature for their age and wonderfully thoughtful, fun kids.  Through their brother’s illness and parents’ absence they became attentive to one’s emotions and compassionate to circumstances, offering a kleenex if needed or a joke just to lighten the mood and make you smile.”

Joni has been in contact with the MPN Research Foundation to raise awareness and will act as a parent advocate for other victims of the disorder.

Walk-ins welcome for Monday’s drive, but appointments will reduce wait time.

Appointments can be made by contacting the Red Cross at 800-733-2767 or at redcrossblood.org.  A blood donor card or driver’s license are required at check-in.   Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

Blood donors can now save time by using RapidPass to complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire.  On the day of the drive, donors should visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the website. 

Donors at the July 18 drive will receive a specially designed St. Louis Cardinals T-shirt