The 13th annual Caleb Nehring Blood Drive is Oct. 1, at the Shrewsbury City Center from 12 to 7 p.m.
The drive is held in memory of Caleb Nehring, who was seven years old when he was diagnosed with stage four rhabdomyosarcoma, one of the most common forms of soft tissue cancer in children.
Leslie Nehring, Caleb’s mother, stated in a text message, “The blood drive started as a way to give back and be around friends, family and generous strangers on the day of Caleb’s death.”
For the next 13 months, he was treated with chemotherapy, surgeries and several blood transfusions before passing away in October of 2006. Caleb’s memory lives on through those he has helped with blood donations from the drive.
About future blood drives, Leslie Nehring texted, “If you ask Caleb’s brother, Quinton, or his sister, Peyton, we are having it each year, FOREVER! They love the event because of the feeling of giving back in Caleb’s memory and the people that show up.”
Soft tissue sarcoma is a cancer that spreads in the tissue of muscles, joints, tendons, nerves and blood vessels. Undeveloped cells rapidly expand and create a mass or tumor.
Rhabdomyosarcoma causes these immature cells to form striated muscles, most commonly found in the head and neck.
According to https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/rhabdomyosarcoma-childhood/statistics, about 400 to 500 people are diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma each year, and the majority of them are children under the age of 10. Overall, the five year survival rate for diagnosees younger than 15 is an estimation of 70 percent. However, the rate decreases as risk increases. For high-risk cases, the five year survival rate ranges from 20 to 30 percent.
Statistics from www.redcross.org show that although 38 percent of people in the U.S. are eligible to give blood, less than 10 percent do. Every two seconds someone is in need of blood, and one donation could save up to three lives.
To donate, one must be a legal adult (or have consent from a parent), bring a driver’s license or two other forms of identification, and weigh a minimum of 110 lbs. Appointments can be made by visiting RedCross.org and using sponsor code: CALEB.