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Annual Kenny Conidaris Blood Drive moves up a month

May 4, 2017
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Usually held in July, the annual Kenny Conidaris Blood and Bone Marrow Drive will take place at the Lani Kai Island Resort, 1400 Estero Blvd., a little earlier this year, Saturday, June 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As Kenny's mom, Kathy, said in a prepared statement, "Blood donations will be collected by Lee Memorial Blood Center. Sponsorship packages are available and all donations of raffle items and/or gift certificates would be greatly appreciated to make our event a success. We are trying to collect enough donations to be able to give away awesome prizes all day long. Every donor will receive a T-shirt and light snacks. As you know during this time of the year, blood donations drop, but the need never ends."

Kenny Conidaris is thankful to the many blood donors who have helped make his upcoming 24th birthday possible. Eleven years ago, he began battling Severe Aplastic Anemia, a disease in which the bone marrow does not make enough blood cells for the body.

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Three years ago he developed Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare life-threatening disease causing the destruction of red blood cells leading to hemolytic anemia.

These critical conditions have required him to have multiple blood and platelet transfusions over the years. A bone marrow or stem cell transplant may be the final cure for his illness, but first a compatible donor must be found.

Along with their free T-shirt, snacks and refreshments, all blood donors that day will receive a wellness checkup, including blood pressure, pulse, temperature, iron count and cholesterol screening. Generally healthy people age 18 or older who weigh at least 110 pounds can donate blood.

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If you're between 18 and 44 and meet the health guidelines, you may be able to join the "Be The Match Registry" with simple cheek swabs that gather cells from inside your mouth, which is then sent to a lab for tissue typing. Every year, 12,000 patients with a blood cancer need a marrow or peripheral blood stem cell transplant to live.

The Conidaris' have no matching donor in their family, so they look for a volunteer donor who shares their heritage to give them a second chance. Visit for more information or call 1-800- MARROW-2 (1-800-627-7692).

Lee Memorial does not export donated blood every drop goes to help save the lives of patients at your community-owned hospitals. Call 239-343-2333 to schedule the blood mobile.



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