Location: Williamsville, NY
First Blood Drive: February 2021
Potential Lives Saved: 156
Sarah Cook, a Williamsville South graduate and junior at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in November 2020. She immediately began treatment at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. While learning about AML and her diagnosis, Sarah became passionate about raising awareness about blood, platelet and bone marrow donation. During the pandemic, the need for blood products nationally was dire.
Initially, Sarah posted on her social media about donating blood and registering for Be the Match, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on saving lives through bone marrow transplants with access to the world’s largest and most diverse marrow donor registry. Sarah became aware of Be the Match at Duquesne when its football team sponsored a bone marrow donor drive in 2019. She signed up and completed a simple cheek swab in hopes of being a match for someone needing bone marrow. She now knows first-hand how important the gift of stem cell donation is as she received a lifesaving bone marrow transplant (all the way from Poland!) on March 1st at Roswell Park.
Sarah’s battle with AML motivated several groups of family, friends and community members to take action. Since November, when Sarah was diagnosed, Roswell Park has experienced an unprecedented outpouring of blood and platelet donations in her name. In December, her sister, Rachel Blaszak, designed and sold a “Bad Blood” t-shirt and raised $6,000 which will be donated to Roswell Park this month. In February, the members of Sarah's Physician Assistant program at Duquesne held a successful blood drive, while back in Western New York, friends of the Cook family teamed up with ConnectLife to conduct a blood and platelet drive in Williamsville.
The love and support for Sarah was evident as all of the appointments for the day were filled. For the month of March, Kids Escaping Drugs is sponsoring a blood and platelet drive in her honor at Roswell Park. Sarah has used her diagnosis as an opportunity to raise awareness and inspire action. What a difference she has made - friends are already assembling a team for this summer's Ride for Roswell and plans for other projects are in the works!