Cambridge high school hosts blood drive for student diagnosed with leukemia

Monsignor Doyle High School, in Cambridge, Ont. organizes a blood donation clinic to support their student Sheldon Vitorino, who is diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Monsignor Doyle High set up a blood donation clinic to support

Sheldon Vitorino is a grade 10 student at Monsignor Doyle High school in Cambridge, Ont. He's been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and his high school is hosting a blood donation clinic in his name. (Submitted by Jolene Vitorino)

A high school in Cambridge, Ont., is organizing a blood donation clinic to support grade 10 student Sheldon Vitorino, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in September.

Monsignor Doyle High School is hosting the blood drive on Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., with the hope that people from the neighbourhood will also come to give blood. 

"He feels pretty honoured," Jolene Vitorino, Sheldon's mother, told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo.

"It's a nice feeling to know the school community is backing him up and wanting to put this on for him," she said. 

Vitorino said Sheldon has relied on many blood donations over the last few years and will continue to need them throughout the course of his treatment, which is expect to last the next three years. 

"He just required two units of blood yesterday," she said.

Alarming shortage

"When I heard there's a shortage, that was really alarming to Sheldon and I," said Vitorino. "So he said, that's all he wanted for his sixteenth birthday, he just wanted enough blood." 

Sheldon's sixteenth birthday was in March. That same month Canadian Blood Services said it was in urgent need of 10,000 more blood donations, especially for several blood groups that were at "critically low levels," by March 10.

Kim Myers, the head guidance counsellor at the school, said the event is being organized with Canadian Blood Services. 

"We are so excited to follow Sheldon's lead and show the community of Cambridge how important blood donations are," said Myers. 

The clinic hosted at the school is able to accommodate 116 blood donors. As of Wednesday evening, 81 people had registered, Myers said. 

Some of the donors who signed up are also students at the school, age 17 and up. 

Myers and Vitorino said they believe the remaining 35 spots will be filled by the time the clinic ends Thursday afternoon.