The Power of Blood Donations

On December 7, 2019, nine Western New Yorkers had the chance that most don't - to meet a young boy whose life they saved. That boy's name is Drake McKane.

Drake was a normal and healthy 12-year-old boy described by his mom Debbie as being "full of life." That was until one day when he woke up not being able to move his arms and his foot because they were so swollen. Later came a 103°F fever.

At first, Drake was diagnosed with a virus and possible rheumatoid arthritis. When his condition started to get worse, Drake had to go through many tests and X-rays. He was eventually dianogsed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) on November 20, 2017.

Drake McKane at Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo, NY

During his battle with cancer, Drake spent over 120 days at Oishei Children's Hospital and Roswell Park for chemotherapy treatments and other various procedures.

Drake had several blood and platelet transfusions during our stay at Oishei Children’s Hospital and Roswell Park. On July of 2018, Drake was admitted again for critically low platelets. His platelets were at a two, so he had to have two blood transfusions and 22 bags of platelets throughout that specific month. If it wasn’t for the transfusions, we would have lost him. Platelet donations are so critical for our little cancer patients with all the chemo they get it drops their levels, and it is so important to be able to get transfused," says Drake's mom, Debbie.

Drake McKane with his family at Roswell Park

Thankfully, after a two-year battle, Drake beat cancer and was able to ring the bell at a bell-ringing ceremony at Roswell Park.

Debbie reached out to ConnectLife and was interested in releasing Drake's transfusion records so we could track down the altruistic blood donors that helped save her son's life. 

After some digging, our team at ConnectLife realized that Drake had recieved over 60 blood transfusions during his two-year battle with cancer. 32 ConnectLife blood donors were identified, and our team reached out to them to see if they would be interested in meeting Drake.

Drake's family decided they would hold a blood drive and a bell-ringing ceremony in honor of Drake in Mayville, New York and invited Drake's donors to say, "thank you." Nine ConnectLife blood donors traveled to Mayville and had the opportunity to meet Drake, his family, and the other blood donors too.

Drake McKane pictured with his nine blood donors

Those nine blood donors are Dan Pasternak, Hal Kreher, Jen Sparks, Lindsay Gangloff, Lynne Moley, Marcy Morris, Marge Rosier, Pasquale Maggiore, and Rebecca Nason.

Meet Drake's Donors

Dan Pasternak, ConnectLife Blood Donor

Hal Kreher, ConnectLife Blood Donor

Jen Sparks, ConnectLife Blood Donor

Lindsay Gangloff, ConnectLife Blood Donor

Lynne Moley, ConnectLife Blood Donor

Marcy Morris, ConnectLife Blood Donor

Marge Rosier, ConnectLife Blood Donor

Pasquale Maggiore, ConnectLife Blood Donor

Rebecca Nason, ConnectLife Blood Donor

Are you feeling inspired to donate blood?

Find a blood drive near you at ConnectLifeGiveBlood.org or you can call 716-529-4270. To learn more about Community Blood Donation, please click here.