American Red Cross’ chapter to hold ‘More Special’ blood drive

Published 10:07 am Friday, February 11, 2011

ASHLAND, Ky. — There is no such thing as an American Red Cross Blood Drive that isn’t special, according to Vicki James, Boyd County American Red Cross chapter executive director.

However, if you ask Tandy Nash, the one scheduled for Feb. 19 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Poage School in Ashland, is more special than others.

It is the second blood drive to support and honor Nash’s daughter, Kaelyn Wellman, who was severely injured in a vehicle accident in December 2008. The first was held in 2009.

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James calls the blood drive one that has special meaning to many blood donors. “Kaelyn Wellman’s friends at Poage Elementary decided that giving blood to the Red Cross was a way people could help and honor Kaelyn,” said James. “That led them to work with us to schedule a special, additional blood drive – one that will let Kaelyn know that there are many who continue to keep her in their memories and hearts. And, while it is a special way to honor her, it is saving the lives of others.”

Kaelyn’s accident occurred Dec. 23, 2008 on her way home from Morehead State University, where she was a senior. The vehicle she was driving flipped three times after hitting ice, ejecting her from the car. Since the accident, she spent months in a semi vegetative state in intensive care in a Louisville hospital, improved, and is now in Woodland Oaks in Ashland.

According to her mother, Nash, “Kaelyn has shown great improvement. Her feeding tubes have been removed and she is eating almost totally independently, can talk, sing and even do her old Paul Blazer cheers from when she was a cheerleader there. With braces, her feet have returned to their normal positions and we’re getting ready to start to work with her to walk again.

“Our students here at Poage have been very active getting their friends and families to sign up to give blood,” says Nash, who teaches at Poage. “I expect more than 100 donors to show up.”

The family hopes to make the blood drive an annual event.

More information about the blood drive is available at the Boyd County, American Red Cross Chapter office at 4201 Blackburn Avenue, Ashland or by calling the office at (606) 325-1626.