Blood drive near me: A Chicago-area family is holding blood drives in honor of AnaVictoria Segoviano, a teenage girl who died of leukemia

CHICAGO (WLS) — There is a growing shortage of blood as we approach the holiday season, so calls for donors are getting louder.

Right now there is pressure to get more people from the Latin American community to donate.

AnaVictoria Segoviano was like any other 15-year-old girl. Full of life, dreams and energy.

“She was perfect in my eyes,” said her father, Alejandro Segoviano.

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Her dad said she could light up any room she walked into.

“She was an angel to a lot of people I think, she had a lot of friends,” he said.

She even had a gift for fashion.

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“She was tearing up our clothes to make an outfit,” he said with a laugh, “but she was beautiful.”

On a cold day in January 2015, the lives of AnaVictoria and her family changed forever. She was diagnosed with leukemia and battled the disease for two long years, relying heavily on blood transfusions for pain relief.

“If you ever see a balloon filling up with air, at first there is no air and it looks deflated and it doesn’t look like it has any life,” explained his dad. “And after people get these blood transfusions, you can immediately tell there’s life in their body.”

The American Red Cross says nearly 60% of Latinos have type O blood, compared to about 45% of the rest of the population. The need for type O blood is high because it can be widely used.

In fact, O-negative is known as the “universal blood donor”, meaning anyone can receive it.

“I saw how directly it impacted my daughter’s day-to-day life,” Segoviano said.

AnaVictoria passed away in 2017, but her family never stopped honoring her memory. They are now holding blood drives in his honor, hoping to give another family a little more time with their loved ones.

“At the end of the day, I feel like we’re the only ones who can take care of our community, so we need to be able to make some noise and spread the word,” her father said.

And think about it: a bag of blood has the power to save up to three lives.

“Be heroes for a day, you know,” Segoviano said.

If you would like to donate, the Red Cross collects blood daily at its Chicago headquarters in the Illinois Medical District. You can also visit RedCross.org to find a mobile reader near you.

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