The American Red Cross and the Niagara County Sheriff's Office are sponsoring two blood drives in honor of Sheriff's Deputy Allen Gerhardt on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 1 until 7 p.m. at the South Lockport Fire Hall and the Newfane Town Hall.
At 1:30 in the morning on Monday, July 19, Gerhardt was responding to a call when he lost control of his car. The injuries he sustained required numerous blood transfusions and resulted in the loss of both of his legs. Gerhardt, who is married with three children, has been a member of the Sheriff's Office since August 2008, and served as a line pilot in the Iraq war during 2006 and 2007.
Corrections Officer Ian Langdon's son, Jack, was diagnosed with Metastatic Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer that usually strikes children in adolescence. In addition, Deputy Marc Reele's son, Logan, was diagnosed in 2010 with leukemia, a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.
All three of these families have been touched by the generosity of volunteer blood donors, and understand the importance of an adequate blood supply. To honor these individuals and their families, the community is urged to come out and give blood to the Red Cross on Aug. 4. To make an appointment, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2676) or visit www.redcrossblood.org.
"About every two seconds, someone in America needs life-saving blood products from voluntary blood donors, " said Mary Grupka, American Red Cross district director. "This summer, the need for blood is critical. In May and June, while demand for blood products remained steady, donations were at the lowest level the Red Cross has seen during this timeframe in over a dozen years."