A Middle Village teen is asking for the community’s help this holiday season to donate blood and give the gift of life at a blood drive held in her honor on Saturday, December 18, at Christ the King Regional High School.
Fourteen-year-old Carly Nieves was first diagnosed with leukemia in July 2003, at the age of seven. She was treated with two years of intensive chemotherapy at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park.
Unfortunately, after three years in remission, Carly suffered a relapse and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells that normally fight infections.
The new diagnosis placed Carly in a high-risk category, which required an additional three years of intensive, high-dose chemotherapy.
Cancer patients like Carly require frequent blood transfusions because aggressive treatment often destroys healthy blood cells along with diseased ones. Red blood cell transfusions to fight anemia and platelet transfusions to control bleeding are often needed.
“When you’re told there’s no blood for her, it’s just devastating,” said Lisa Horner, Carly’s mother. “It’s not like you can just come back tomorrow.”
Despite the emotional, physical and psychological affects of her cancer, Carly has persevered and kept an optimistic outlook on life. She successfully completed her academic studies with honors.
Carly wants to bring attention to the plight of children with cancer and the need for blood and bone marrow donors. She and her family will also donate cash proceeds collecting at the blood drive to Friends of Karen, a nonprofit organization that helps the families of critically-ill children cope with the financial and emotional stresses of life-threatening illnesses.
The blood drive is hosted by the New York Blood Center and will be held at Christ the King’s cafeteria between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The school is at 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village.