Reporting Nancy Harty
CHICAGO (CBS) – The Blackhawks are helping to host two blood drives this Saturday for one of their biggest fans – a Chicago teen with leukemia.
WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports Emma Gomez doesn’t follow normal medical expectations. Her mother said, after essentially falling into a coma for five weeks, the 14-year-old leukemia patient just started talking one day.
Now Lifesource is teaming up with the Blackhawks for a blood drive and bone marrow donor registry in Emma’s honor.
“I am the biggest fan of the Hawks,” Emma said.
Her mother, Crystal Gomez, wore a pink T-shirt that says “Team Emma” as she talked about her daughter’s treatments. She said Emma has undergone five rounds of chemotherapy and one failed bone marrow transplant.
“We only found one match, and we’re talking about the whole world. We’ve searched the whole world,” she said.
Crystal said she can’t cure her daughter’s leukemia, but she can host as many blood drives and bone marrow registry events as possible.
Lifesource spokeswoman Tammy Basile said Blackhawks fans already have saved approximately 5,000 lives with blood donations in the last year alone.
“Plus, Blackhawk fans have entered the marrow registry, and we’ve already had three matches just from the Blackhawks fans,” she said.
Blackhawks players will appear at the events on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at North Central College in Naperville, and the InterContinental O’Hare hotel in Rosemont. The events will also feature Blackhawks ticket giveaways and autographed team memorabilia.
Blood donors must be at least 17 years old – or 16 with parental consent – and must weigh at least 100 pounds and be in general good health. Donations take about an hour.
Signing up for the bone marrow registry requires only a simple moth swab and completion of a questionnaire. Donors must be 18 to 44 years old, and sign a consent form to have their tissue type listed on the registry until they turn 61.