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Local Girl With Leukemia Helps Host Blood Drive

"It is Christmas Eve. It is Christmas Eve, and it makes me cry,” said Melissa, Mackenzie’s mom. “We decided that this year, that would be our Christmas gift to the community, is that we would make sure that if anybody was in an accident or anybody got sick that the blood would be there for them this holiday season."
HAGERSTOWN, Md. – ‘Tis the season for, giving blood? In fact, officials with the Red Cross said it's necessary all year, but even more during the holidays.

Mackenzie McCarter, a little fifth grade girl with leukemia.

She was first diagnosed when she was four years old, and her family is holding a fourth blood drive in her name this holiday season.

"It is Christmas Eve. It is Christmas Eve, and it makes me cry,” said Melissa, Mackenzie’s mom. “We decided that this year, that would be our Christmas gift to the community, is that we would make sure that if anybody was in an accident or anybody got sick that the blood would be there for them this holiday season."

Melissa said it's their way of giving back to the community that has done so much for them.

"It makes me feel wonderful, and my children are here with me, we decided to do this as a family. It makes me feel very proud that at their young age they're already giving back to the community," Melissa said.

And it's something even Mackenzie, the shy little girl who sparkles in blue, is proud to help with.

"They baked all of the cookies to serve all of the donors,” Melissa said. She said Mackenzie also helped with other things, “And she's been working for weeks on the Christmas ornaments that she made for everyone. And she knows. She knows what this is all about and she gets just as excited as I am."

They hoped for around 40 people to stop by and donate, and it looks like thanks to Mackenzie, they'll reach their goal. The Red Cross looks for all types of blood, but are in real need for O-negative, A-negative, and B-negative.

According to Moore, across the nation only 37% of people are actually eligible to donate blood, and out of those people, only 11% actually do.

District Manager for the Red Cross, Autumn Moore, said they'll get around 65 units of blood from the drives. She said Mackenzie’s drive was a good size, and typically they get around 25 units of blood donated.

One unit of blood helps to save three lives, something the McCarter family calls, an awesome Christmas present to the community.

There are blood drives around the area every week, and there's an increase in the number of drives over the holiday season.

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