By Mary O’KEEFE
The Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church will be hosting a blood drive today from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The event is to benefit the City of Hope and is in honor of Christine Lockhart, a 12-year-old member of the congregation who is battling cancer.
“Christine was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma on April 1 of this year,” said Susan Lockhart, Christine’s mother.
She added that doctors are optimistic for her recovery.
“We had a conversation with our doctor and was told that Christine would need a transfusion. I just mentioned it to the pastor of our church if anyone was interested in donating,” Susan said.
She anticipated that maybe a couple of people would go to the City of Hope and donate blood. Then Sandy Saltsman stepped in and began to work.
“I made a call to the City of Hope to see what our congregation could do. They suggested having a blood drive,” Saltsman said.
The church has never had a blood drive before and Saltsman had never organized one but the call went out and the congregation responded.
“Our goal was to have 50 sign up. Right now I have 57,” she said.
Susan said the church and the community have been very supportive. Christine is a member of the Crescenta Valley Little League and a student at Dunsmore Elementary.
“They have all rallied around her,” she added. “And the district has been great.”
The school district has helped by sending school nurses and teachers to the home for those days Christine cannot attend school.
“I am stunned by the support,” Susan added. “Sandy has done 100% of this blood drive. I am really grateful.”
For Saltsman the blood drive is a labor of love.
“Christine is such a beautiful little girl. She is so strong.”
Out of Christine’s illness comes a chance to help others through these donations.
The blood drive is open to anyone in the community who would like to donate. The church is located at 2700 Montrose Ave. in La Crescenta.