Young Spokane blood drive organizer battling leukemia



Posted on July 30, 2013 at 6:11 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 7 at 9:46 AM

SPOKANE – Staff at the Inland Northwest Blood Center know the importance of daily blood donations, but for one employee that lesson now comes even closer to her heart.
Jennifer Hawkins is the donor recruitment manager at the Inland Northwest Blood Center, making sure the center has enough blood on its shelves to meet the local need every day.
“I had no idea that it was going to become a personal story for me with my son,” Hawkins said.
In June, Jennifer’s son, Ryan, organized a blood drive at his middle school.
“The ironic part of that day is that, that was the first day we noticed Ryan started to exhibit signs of being sick,” Hawkins said.
Twelve days later, Ryan was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.
“So there we are, June 17, when my son gets diagnosed,” Hawkins said. “If the platelet donors hadn’t already donated, we would’ve been in trouble. Ryan had a platelet count of 12. That’s insane.”
Suddenly Ryan depended on the very donations he’d been so passionate to collect just days before. And Jennifer Hawkins, who already knew the importance of those daily blood donations through her job, found herself relying on them as a mother.
“Every single day, people are in car accidents,” she said. “Every single day people have surgeries happening. Every single day, people have cancer. Every day, you need it.”
Ryan is currently in the hospital getting treated with a second round of chemotherapy. Every couple days he gets some sort of transfusion needing blood and platelet donations.

The KREM Cares Blood Drive begins Thursday, August 1 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. You can donate at these four locations:

  • KREM TV Studios at 4103 S Regal, Spokane, WA
  • Inland Northwest Blood Center at 210 W. Cataldo, Spokane, WA
  • Valley Hospital at 12606 E Mission Ave, Spokane, WA
  • Coeur d'Alene Inland Northwest Blood Center at 403 W. Neider, Coeur d'Alene, ID