SHEPHERDSVILLE - Despite his illness, the guest of honor didn’t seem to mind the pain.
Damon Sanders enjoyed himself during a special Red Cross blood drive in his honor at Shepherdsville City Hall.
Damon was diagnosed with leukemia and T-cell lymphoma on Oct. 14. His mother, Shannon, said a seven-inch tumor in Damon’s chest cavity caused his heart to move and filled his lungs with fluid.
Damon’s grandfather, Dale McKinney, is an American Legion Post 157 member. The post first hosted a fundraising event for Damon in November.
Soon Damon received further support from District Judge Rebecca Ward, also a post member.
With Ward’s backing, a bigger event was planned. The city of Shepherdsville allowed use of its facility while the Red Cross added the blood drive.
“Of all the organizations I’ve worked with, the Red Cross is fabulous,” said Ward. “I couldn’t ask for a better organization to work with.”
Red Cross donor recruitment specialist Tammy Ritchie said a goal of 50 donors was set for the event. The organization was up to 60 by the event’s midway point.
“We’ve been amazed by the turnout,” said Ritchie. “Usually a successful event is 40 donors.”
Other organizations assisting in the event included the Bullitt County Clerk’s Office, the Bullitt County Bar Association and Bullitt County Child Support.
Walt Thompson, a Child Support employee and Post 157 member, praised Ward and the participating groups for the event’s success.
“We invited Ward to our (November) fundraiser, and she took it from there,” Thompson said. “
Shepherdsville city employees participated in the event, donating blood and allowing Damon to sit in a fire engine and police cruiser. Ward thanked Mayor Sherman Tinnell for allowing use of the government center.
The most important part of the event was collecting much-needed blood for Damon as well as the Red Cross itself.
“Damon gets the blood he needs plus we fill our general pool back up, said Red Cross DRD supervisor Tammy Newman.