MECHANICSVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — Wendy Isabelle is taking a trip down memory lane with her son Mark.
“This is my favorite,” she points to a photo in the scrapbook.
It is one of several she put together during his cancer battle. Mark was diagnosed with Leukemia at age four and was in treatment until he was eight-years-old.
“I lost a lot of blood, so I needed more of my blood type to get me healthier,” Mark, who is now an Atlee High School Freshman, explained.
Wendy stepped in, describing the situation.
“When Mark was getting all his transfusions, they kept saying, ‘We need blood, we need blood. The blood bank is low, the hospital is low. We need platelets,’ so I just put the word out,” she said.
That is how the Isabelle family’s community blood drives began nine years ago. Mark’s older siblings Megan and Chris made a call for donors early on, but this year Mark will take the reins. He has been telling everyone he knows how blood donations made a difference to him.
“When you put a face and a story to a cause, people come out,” Wendy said.
This ongoing effort is priceless, according to Virginia Blood Services (VBS).
“Without that precious gift, patients wouldn’t receive it,” Michelle Westbay, a VBS spokesperson, said. “It is a medicine, and it has to come from volunteer blood donors. Blood saved Mark’s life, and it does. It saves lives every single day.”
Mark, who enjoys math and playing lacrosse, does not take it for granted.
“Even though I’m cancer-free, there’s still other people who have cancer and they need the blood too,” he said.
The Ashcreek Blood Drive — Celebrating Mark Isabelle – Cancer Free! is Wednesday, September 21 from 3 to 7 p.m. It will be held at the Ashcreek Clubhouse at 10854 Linderwood Drive in Mechanicsville.