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Shawn Flynn & Little Heroes Blood Drives

Alondra Montelongo
September 7, 2021

Last year, Shawn Flynn met and exceeded his challenge to host 30 blood drives in 30 days in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This year, the goal is to have more than 1,000 donors give their gift of life!

The Little Heroes Blood Drives are a personal commitment for Shawn Flynn and his family. His son, Liam, is a pediatric cancer survivor and required twelve transfusions during his treatment. Helping other families going through the same journey is a way to thank the donors who helped Liam.

We recently interviewed Shawn to learn more about his goal for this year’s Little Heroes Blood Drives.

Shawn Flynn and his family with the family dog

Tell us about your experience with the Little Heroes Blood Drives last year.

I was thrilled with the response we received, not only in terms of the number of drives (42) but with the overall number of donors and units of blood collected. We exceeded our goal by more than 300%, which is phenomenal.

I shouldn't have been surprised, however, the pediatric cancer community consistently is out there supporting one another. How could you not be willing to donate blood in order to save a child's life?

What is your goal for this year's Little Heroes Blood Drives?

Our goal this year is to have more than 1,000 donors which will help as many as 3,000 patients. That's such a major impact. Plus, OneBlood is generously donating $10 per donor to the Isabella Santos Foundation which is a Charlotte-based nonprofit attempting to beat childhood cancers.

What will you do differently for this year's blood drives?

Last year was a last-minute sprint to get the 30 drives in 30 days. We didn't officially hit that mark until midway through the month. We have already scheduled more than 30 drives. Now, we want to bring more donors to the buses.

We are also giving out specially designed "Little Heroes" blood drives t-shirts with the names of some of our little warriors on the back. It helps the donor personalize the donation. The donor can immediately understand the impact of his/her blood donation.

How can communities support the Little Heroes Blood Drives?

Sign up, period! Invite your friends. Find a drive near you and help promote it. If you can't donate blood, find someone who can. Please spread the word. Every donor matters. It's the absolute easiest thing you can do to help save a life. While police, firefighters, military, and more put their lives on the line every day to help people, all you have to do is roll up your sleeve!

Can you give us an update on Liam?

Liam just started fourth grade and is doing great. We are now two years post-treatment and he is back to just being a normal nine-year-old.

A reminder: Liam required 12 transfusions (whole and platelets) during his treatment. That's 12 people who we don't know who took the time to help save his life. When you donate, look at his picture. The blood is not going to him, but to other kids just like him.

What words of advice would you give to other parents taking care of a child with cancer?

Focus on the family, period! There will be a LOT of distractions. Take help whenever you can, but don't worry about the small things. We never had the chance to individually thank all of the people who did things for us, like bringing us dinner or toys. But they know. They were part of team #LiamStrong.

Also, celebrate ALL victories, even the small ones. There will be enough bad days, so enjoy the good ones. Be sure to laugh and have fun. That helps to make the days go by faster.

Finally, reach out to a friend, family member, health care worker, or another pediatric cancer family if you need help. The entire family goes through this process. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Follow the journey to 1,000 donors, here's how to stay updated:

Will you be one of 1,000 who saves lives? Help Shawn Flynn meet his goal. Little Heroes blood drives are happening now through the end of September in North Carolina.

Alondra Montelongo, Digital Marketing Analyst and Author

Alondra Montelongo

As a Digital Marketing Specialist at OneBlood, Alondra Montelongo is responsible for staying on top of the latest #socialtrends in the digital sphere and crafting messaging that inspires others to save lives.

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