Donate blood in honor of Chesterfield 6th grader who passed away while waiting for heart transplant

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Today you can help Providence Middle School remember a sixth grader who died while waiting for a heart transplant.

Twelve-year-old Dorian Broyles passed away in February. On Wednesday, his classmates and friends are coming together for a memorial blood drive. Participants can also sign up to become organ donors.

Dorian Broyles passed away in February while waiting for a heart transplant.
Dorian Broyles passed away in February while waiting for a heart transplant.

Two eighth grade students — Tyler Bylsma and Billy D’Amato — organized the drive for an assignment for the Providence Leadership Academy, but they say it goes beyond making the grade.

“It is for a project, but I think it’s more than that. I think it can help the community. We’re planning on it helping the family,” said Bylsma.

Their teacher, Amanda Brzostowski, says Broyles was well liked at the school.

“From what I do know, he was a sweet boy, he cared a lot about his school, school work and his teachers were all very fond of him,” she said.

Brzostowski says now that students and the community have had some time to grieve, now is a chance to give back in his honor in a tangible way.

“The spring is time for sort of a renewal and for the family to feel like we’re giving back and that this is in honor of Dorian, and his brother Liam who’s here, I think this will be special for him as well,” she said.

Students Tyler Bylsma and Billy D'Amato organized the memorial blood drive for their leadership class.
Students Tyler Bylsma and Billy D’Amato organized the memorial blood drive for their leadership class.

Donate Life Virginia and Virginia Blood Services (VBS) are also teaming up for the event.

April is National Donate Life Month.

“Just like organs, you have to have specific matches for blood types, so it’s all very relevant and we’re all very focused on the same mission — which is supporting lives,” said Michelle Westbay, marketing director for Virginia Blood Services.

Westbay says people can save up to three lives when they donate blood. She’s impressed by the eight graders’ determination to rally others to participate in the drive.

“It’s not just that recipient that’s receiving the blood that they impact, it’s the whole family. So, it’s really such a wonderful thing for the community to come together for something like this.”

The blood drive takes place at Providence Middle School, 900 Starlight Lane, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. Click here to make an appointment. Search “Dorian” under ‘name of location.’

Donors must be at least 110 pounds to donate blood and at least 17-years-old. 16-year-olds can donate if their parents give them the OK.

According to VBS, about 400 units of blood are needed on a daily basis to support patients here in the Commonwealth. Click here to learn more.

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