Matteson girl, 8, with sickle cell hosts party, blood drive to help others

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Olivia Shorter, of Matteson, battles sickle cell disease and holds an annual party for children just like her.

A young Matteson girl who is battling sickle cell disease held a party Saturday for children just like her and an opportunity for people to give blood.

The second annual Sickle Cell Anemia Blood Drive and Celebration celebrated Olivia Shorter's 8th birthday. She was was born with the disease.

Last year, Olivia asked her parents about having a party for other children like her.

"I'm proud, so proud. And shocked she would come up with something so big and she didn't even know it," said mom Danielle Shorter. "It's just something that came from her heart."

In addition to having fun and enjoying the party, guests also donated blood to the American Red Cross.

Sickle cell patients manage their disease through blood transfusions.

Olivia once felt like she was alone in her fight against sickle cell. Now, she has this message for other children who might feel the same way: "I'm here and there are other people with sickle cell so you're not the only one and we're all together."

The drive collected 32 units of blood which can help to save up to 92 lives, the American Red Cross said.
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