Blood drive Thursday to honor Wilmington boy who died of cancer - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Blood drive Thursday to honor Wilmington boy who died of cancer

The Zack Mayo Memorial Blood Drive runs from 1:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Parsley Elementary School off Masonboro Loop Road. (Source: WECT) The Zack Mayo Memorial Blood Drive runs from 1:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Parsley Elementary School off Masonboro Loop Road. (Source: WECT)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

The Mayo family will hold their fifth annual blood drive in partnership with the American Red Cross Thursday.

The Zack Mayo Memorial Blood Drive runs from 1:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Parsley Elementary School off Masonboro Loop Road.

It's meant to honor the young boy who died of a rare form of cancer in 2011. Zack was just 12 years old and blood transfusions played a critical role in keeping him alive.

That's the message the Mayos continue to share with the community, to tell others how vital blood donations are to cancer patients.

"Whether they give tomorrow or next week, it's important that people give on a regular basis because if they didn't, we never would have had the year that we had with Zack, and certainly not have been able to save his life the first 24 hours," Ernie Mayo said.

The summer months are the times when blood donations are needed most, supplies dipping low at the American Red Cross.

Officials say it's so important that the blood supply be replenished because every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, meaning more than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day to keep up with the demand.

The Mayos believe events like Thursday's blood drive are needed to keep the conversation about blood donations alive, as well as their son's memory.

"The biggest impact for me is when someone says, ‘You know Zack really changed my life. It changed the way I interact with my children. It makes me cherish every moment I have because life can change in a blink,'" Wendy Mayo said.

According to the Red Cross, to participate in a blood drive, donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in general good health and have valid photo identification; or 16 years old with parental consent. Eligible blood donors can give every 56 days. Donation process can take up to an hour which includes paperwork, temperature, weight, blood pressure and pulse check. A health history review and hemoglobin (iron) test is also performed. The actual donation takes about 10 minutes, followed with refreshments.

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