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Child Heart Surgery Patient Inspires Surge Of Blood Donors

By Bree Sison, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) — The American Red Cross credits 8-year-old Jacqueline Rogers of Billerica for helping them collect 700 units of blood at a donation drive Sunday.

Rogers’s open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital was postponed Friday because there wasn’t enough O negative blood on hand to safely operate. Snow and ice storms are being blamed for the shortage of blood donations not just at Children’s Hospital, but nationwide.

“This past month, due to winter weather, the Red Cross has had to cancel over 320 blood drives in 24 states,” Red Cross spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said. “We are 9,400 units of blood behind where we thought we would be.”

The Red Cross planned a donation event with the Boston Bruins and Bob’s Furniture months ago, but word of Jacqueline’s rescheduled surgery brought out even more New Englanders to the collection site at TD Garden.

“We had a man from Buzzards Bay who the saw the news this morning who came up on a whim. He said, ‘I have to come up and give in honor of Jacqueline,’” Morrissey said.

The turnout touched members of the Rogers family, who stopped by for some fun with Bruins mascot Blades and the Ice Girls. With the help of social media, the Rogers are hoping to raise awareness about the O negative blood shortage and inspire more people to donate.

“The surgeons in Boston are the best in the world. They shouldn’t have to worry about having enough blood for one of their patients,” said Jacqueline’s mother, Valerie.

Jacqueline’s surgery to help correct her congenital heart defect is now planned for Wednesday, Jan. 22.

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