Charles White, founder of the New Shoes for Christmas program, is in the hospital in Charlotte battling leukemia, and Kim Haltwanger, director for Christian Ed at First Presbyterian Church of Rockingham and the American Red Cross are partnering to hold a blood drive in his honor.
White had been in remission for nine years before his leukemia came back last week with a vengeance.
Haltwanger said the church decided to hold a blood drive in his honor, “first because there’s such a great shortage in our area, and because Charles is the kind of person who’s always doing something for others and we thought this would be a good way to give back.”
Because the Leukemia has come back with such force, White will be in the hospital, fighting the disease, for the next month.
Pam Park with the Richmond County Red Cross said she’s impressed with how quick the drive has been put together.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen them work so fast,” Park said. “I don’t know how to describe it.”
Haltwanger said the goal of the blood drive is to raise 80 pints of blood because of the severe shortage, especially for blood types O-negative and B-negative. Each day, the Carolina region of the Red Cross needs to collect 1,600 units of blood and platelets for patients and hospitals.
“Knowing he (Charles) just had a procedure done with blood platelets ... I just think this would be a good way for us to honor him,” Haltwanger said. “He’s touched so many lives, I know there’s a lot of people out there who want to support him.”
Haltwanger said those willing to donate should call the church at 895-6335 to make an appointment, but walk-ins will be accepted.
Staff writer Eren Tataragasi can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 19 or at email@example.com.