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Blood drive to help save lives

The Ashland Fire Department is hosting a blood drive on Tuesday, Sept. 11, in honor of Bend resident Hannah Gonterman.

When Gonterman was 26 weeks pregnant, she was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, according to a news release from American Red Cross. She was flown to Oregon Health and Science University where she stayed for more than two months and received 40 blood transfusions.

After Gonterman’s treatment ended in July, she was given a 98 percent likelihood that the disease won’t return. She credits the blood donors for saving her life, as well as the life her now 5-month-old son, Jennson.

“Technically, I was cured of the cancer with chemo while pregnant with my son,” she said in the release. “I feel good. My hair is growing back. And thankfully none of it affected Jennson. Without blood donors, me and my son could’ve both died.”

Gonterman’s father, Merrill Gonterman, is the assistant chief of the Roseburg Fire Department. He started a statewide “life-saving initiative,” calling on fire departments around Oregon to host blood drives in honor of his daughter.

The Ashland blood drive will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at Ashland Fire Department’s Fire Station 1, at 455 Siskiyou Blvd.

There will also be a blood drive at the Rogue River Fire Department Sept. 17 from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at 5474 North River Rd., Gold Hill.

People of all blood types are encouraged to donate. Individuals who are a minimum of 17 years of age or 16 with parental consent, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good health may be eligible to donate blood.

To schedule an appointment, www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Reach Mail Tribune reporting intern Morgan Theophil at mtheophil@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4485. Follow her on Twitter @morgan_theophil.

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