Gretna, VA-- Folks in Pittsylvania County were giving the gift of life on Saturday. The day was extra special for two people from that area who are fighting cancer. One is 16-months old, the other is 23-years-old.
One of the side effects of chemotherapy is that it weakens your red blood cells, so the girls have lost a lot blood. They've had to have numerous blood transfusions to get them through treatment.People in the community wanted to help, and they did so by hosting a blood drive.
For 16-month-old Claire Parker and for 23-year-old Teresa Dalton, they've spent a lot time inside hospital rooms.Claire, fighting Leukemia and Teresa, battling Ewing Sarcoma at Duke University Medical Center."It's been pretty crazy, it's been really different," said Dalton.
"When you hear leukemia, we just don't think of it as ever happening to anybody that we know, and it's hard for us still sometimes to believe she really has that," said Valerie Parker, Claire's grandmother.
For the past couple of months their community in Gretna has been a part their journey of recovery.
"We've had a walk-a-thon back in September for them and we raised a lot money for them for that just was just wonderful. Then we had a night of prayer on August 4th," said Parker.
Now, people turned out in droves for an American Red Cross blood drive at West End Church of Christ in honor of Claire and Teresa.
"As soon that drive opened we had people lined up the door just about, and it hasn't stopped. As soon as we got some through we have more that show up," said Laura Dooley, Donor Recruiter for American Red Cross.
For Claire and Teresa who lose so much blood during treatment, it meant a lot.
"I was constantly getting transfusions. My counts would drop so low from all the treatments I had gotten, so it really helps a lot for so many people to give," said Dalton. "I've never given blood for such a good cause before," said attendee Kate Berger.
Claire's grandparents said she is doing well. She just finished her last intense cycle of treatment, but will be undergoing some chemotherapy at home.
Teresa Dalton said she's currently continuing treatment. Her last scan showed her cancer had shrunk 27 percent.