Blood drive helps EUHS grad with cancer

Teammates, friends and family of Vanessa Miller are asking the community to turn out for a replacement blood drive July 15.

Miller, a key player on championship volleyball team, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) the day after graduating from high school. According to, AML is a cancer of the bone marrow and lymph nodes. The bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside the large bones of the body. The bone marrow makes red blood cells (which carry oxygen and other materials to all tissues of the body), white blood cells (which fight infection), and platelets (which help make the blood clot).

The bone marrow produces new blood cells. In leukemia the bone marrow starts producing large numbers of abnormal blood cells usually white blood cells. These abnormal, immature white blood cells are called blasts. These cells flood the blood stream and lymph system, and may invade vital organs such as the brain, testes, ovaries, or skin and causes low platelet levels, which inhibits blood clotting. For more information contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet at or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

The Central California Blood Center will be sending two bloodmobiles to collect blood and platelets from 4-8 p.m. at the EUHS parking lot on the corner of Kaweah Avenue and Rocky Hill Drive.

"We are always very grateful and appreciative when friends and family gather to donate on behalf of patients such as Vanessa, who directly benefit from the blood donation," said Chris Sorenson, Director of Community Relations and Development for the Blood Center.

"None of us knows when we, or our loved ones, may need medical care involving lifesaving transfusions. These very personal blood drives allow Vanessa and her family to know how much we all care."

Blood donation takes less than one hour to complete. Donors must be in good general health, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old. Donors should eat a good meal and drink plenty of water within four hours of giving blood. Donors can give blood every eight weeks, the time it takes for the body to completely replace a pint of blood. A Social Security number is required for registration, and first-time donors must present a photo identification upon registration.

Vanessa, the daughter of Bill and Marcie Miller, is currently being treated at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. She has reportedly already needed 11 units of platelets to combat the disease. The Blood Center is the sole provider of blood and blood products for the 31 hospitals in Fresno, Tulare, Madera, Kings and Mariposa counties. The Blood Center must collect 250 pints of blood daily.

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