The Monmouth Fire Department held a blood drive Monday night in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The “Riley & Ryder Strong Blood Drive” is named after two local children who have battled with cancer. Riley Thomas, a 12 year old girl from Monmouth, passed away in August of 2016 after a hard-fought battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma. Ryder Armstrong is a 1 1/2 year old boy who is in the midst of a battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, but is currently in remission awaiting a bone marrow transplant.
Both Justin Thomas and Ryan Armstrong, the fathers of Riley and Ryder respectively, work for the Monmouth Fire Department. There were 41 donor slots to fill according to Craig Cozadd, a Captain at the Monmouth Fire Department; all of which were spoken for, which forced the Department to create a waiting list.
“It’s a very tough deal to deal with for the families of course, but we couldn’t ask for better support from the community. The turnout for the blood drive – we’ve done several at the fire department, we have good turnouts – but nothing like this, so obviously people are stepping up. That’s great,” Cozadd stated.
To learn more about childhood cancer or to donate, log on to www.stjude.org.
written by Jackson Kane