Family donates blood in honor of relatives facing cancer diagnoses

Family donates blood in honor of relatives with cancer
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 9:10 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It was Janice Schmitz’s first time ever donating blood, and she brought a good portion of her family along.

“My two daughters, my daughter-in-law and my sister,” Schmitz said.

All five of them donated a unit of blood this afternoon at the Broadcasters Unite for Life Winter Blood Drive, put on by 10/11 Cares and the Nebraska Community Blood Bank. In the winter, blood donations tend to come in more slowly, but that doesn’t mean they’re needed any less.

For the five, the donation was a family affair.

“My cousin Monica, who lives in Texas, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time,” Tessa Hupp, daughter of Janice, said. “And my mom was telling us as a family through text. And she said to us, ‘I just feel so helpless. I just wish there was something I could do to help.’”

Another relative, Uncle Bob, who lives in Florida, recently received a cancer diagnosis. That feeling of helplessness inspired some brainstorming, and Tessa had a thought based on a friend of hers who had Leukemia.

“He said that the one thing you can do to help cancer patients is to give blood because they give tons of blood products,” Tessa said.

“When you feel helpless, and there’s nothing you can do you feel like, we saw this advertised on TV and thought, we can do that,” Betty Wolf, Janice’s sister, said.

So Janice rallied the family and made an afternoon of it. While the blood they donated won’t go to help Monica, the donations will stay in Nebraska, helping surrounding communities.

“I feel positive that it’s going to help others that are in need of cancer treatments or new babies or new mothers or auto accident victims,” Janice said.

And the family trusts that others in Texas, just like them, will give their blood to help people like Monica and Bob.