Chicago area family hosts blood drives to honor teen who died of leukemia

Need for type O blood is high, which 60% of Latino people have

ByTanja Babich and Poinesha Barnes via WLS logo
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
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AnaVictoria Segoviano passed away in 2017, but her family never stopped honoring her memory. They now they host blood drives in her honor.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There's a growing blood shortage as we inch closer to the holiday season, so the calls for donors are getting louder.

Right now, there's a push to get more people from the Latino community to donate.

AnaVictoria Segoviano was just like any other 15-year-old little girl. Full of life, dreams and energy.

"She was perfect in my eyes," said her father, Alejandro Segoviano.

READ MORE | Chicago organizations team up to address blood crisis in Black, Latino communities

Her dad said she could light up any room she walked into.

"She was an angel for a lot of people I think, she had lots of friends," he said.

She even had a knack for fashion.

READ MORE | Chicago area's 'Sickle Cell Diva' shares challenges of living with the inherited blood disorder

"She would tear up our clothes to make an outfit," he said with a laugh, "but, she was beautiful."

One cold day in January of 2015, AnaVictoria's life and her family's changed forever. She was diagnosed with leukemia and battled the disease for two long years, relying heavily on blood transfusions to ease the pain.

"If you ever see a balloon get full of air, in the beginning it's got no air and it looks deflated and it doesn't look like it has any life," her father explained. "And after people get these blood transfusions, you can tell immediately there's life in their body."

The American Red Cross says nearly 60% of Latinos have type O blood, compared to about 45% of the rest of the population. The need for type O blood is high because it can be used widely.

In fact O-negative is known as the "universal blood donor," which means anyone can receive it.

"I saw how directly that impacted my daughter's life on a day to day basis," Segoviano said.

AnaVictoria passed away in 2017, but her family never stopped honoring her memory. They now they host blood drives in her honor, hoping to give another family a little more time with their loved ones.

"At the end of the day I feel that we're the only ones that can take care of our community so we have to be able to make some noise and spread the message," her father said.

And just think: one bag of blood has the power to save up to three lives.

"Be heroes for a day, ya know," Segoviano said.

If you'd like to donate, the Red Cross collects blood daily at their Chicago headquarters in the Illinois Medical District. You can also visit RedCross.org to find a mobile drive near you.