Best friends hosting blood drive after battling cancer

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 7:19 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) -13-year-old Karly Rathbun was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was eight years old, but she didn’t have to face cancer alone. She met another young girl with the same illness, Shayla Schielein, and they became best friends.

“I was glad that she was there with me,” Karly said.

While undergoing chemotherapy, the girls had many rounds of blood transfusions–often waiting long hours for the treatment.

“Sitting in a hospital bed for five hours straight is not very comfortable. I don’t want other kids to wait as long as we did,” Karly said.

After going through remission, Karly and Schielein wanted to help other cancer patients by taking away some of the wait during blood transfusions through a blood drive.

“It is really important to make sure the blood supply is kept up,” Karly’s mother April Rathbun said. “For example, when she was going through leukemia, she needed fourteen transfusions. You could just see life drained out of her when she needed it. You know when your child needs blood.”

This will be the girl’s fourth blood drive. They’ve donated 190 units of blood and they hope to get as much blood as possible this year.

The blood drive is on Saturday at Fondulac District Library from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.