“Any one of us could suddenly learn that our life depends on someone else donating blood, plasma, bone marrow or an organ,” says Norma Kennedy.
Norma and her sister Colette Bachez learned the importance of donation in the hardest way possible. A niece of theirs, Cheryl Lynn Boyle, needed countless blood transfusions and a bone marrow transplant to treat aplastic anemia, a rare and often fatal condition. Unfortunately, despite these interventions, Cheryl succumbed to the disease in 2017 at age 31.
“As you can imagine, we were devastated,” says Norma. “But we channelled our grief into organizing an event to raise funds and awareness of the need for donors. Cheryl’s Run is now in its fourth year, and it’s been a huge success.”
The event quickly attracted a long list of sponsors and participants. Cheryl’s Run also adopted various blood donor events, and Norma and Colette regularly promote donation on social media and in interviews with local news media. As a result of COVID-19, the 2020 edition of Cheryl’s Run was held virtually, but it still attracted hundreds of participants and raised thousands of dollars.
“We’re all one,” says Norma. “Anyone who can donate blood should do it, because any one of us could suddenly need it.”