Unlike most teenagers, Janna Hamilton, Jackson County’s Teen of the Year, doesn’t subscribe to the "it’s-all-about-me" philosophy. In fact, Janna’s personality is so centered on giving that this year, instead of requesting gifts for her 18th birthday; she is requesting that her friends, family, and others within the community donate blood.
Janna was diagnosed with CNS Sarcoma, a rare type of brain tumor, in April of 2004. Since her shocking diagnosis, she has been dedicated to raising awareness of childhood cancer and the need for blood donations to assist them with treatment. This month, Southeastern Community Blood Center in Marianna is teaming up with this ambitious high school junior to help her achieve this goal.
During the week of September 15th, SCBC will be hosting a blood drive in honor of Hamilton and the cancer patients she campaigns for every day. The event, which will be held at the blood center from Monday through Friday of that week, will provide the community with a simple yet meaningful way to support a wonderful and much needed charitable act.
The blood drive coincides with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, along with Hamilton’s birthday on September 16th. One of Hamilton’s biggest birthday wishes is for SCBC to collect 100 units of blood throughout the week, nearly twice as much as they collected in the previous year’s event. She plans to celebrate her big day by visiting the blood center the afternoon of Tuesday, September 16 and thank the individuals who come out to donate blood.
"Janna supports blood donation because she used over 20 units of blood herself and knows of many children in the hospital who have to wait for their treatment because the blood is not always there," Judy Hamilton, Janna’s Mom says. Hamilton had many stories of youngsters needing blood including a 2-year-old friend of theirs who used 22 units plus platelet transfusions for treatment. Hamilton also said, "People don’t really know how necessary it is to give blood. Giving blood doesn’t cost a dime and you never know when you might need it. I didn’t know my daughter would have cancer and need it."
Individuals interested in showing their support should visit SCBC’s Marianna, Florida location at 2503 Commercial Park Drive from 9:00am to 6:00pm, September 15th through 19th.
Donating is a simple procedure. To be a donor, individuals have to be in good health, at least 17 years old (16 years old with a parent’s permission) and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds.
According to SCBC, less than 5 percent of the eligible population actually donates blood. For more information, contact SCBC at (850) 526-4403, (800) 722-2218 or visit its website www.scbcinfo.org.
The Southeastern Community Blood Center is a nonprofit organizations and the only blood center providing blood to families in 26 counties in North Florida and South Georgia. SCBC’s home office is at 1731 Riggins Road in Tallahassee. Additional branches are located in Thomasville, Ga., Douglas, Ga., Marianna and Panama City. SCBC also travels seven mobiles to daily blood drives hosted by businesses, civic groups, schools, churches and state agencies. (Commercial Park Drive is located on 90E past Owens Carpet Outlet.)