South Elgin toddler gets 'super powers' from donated blood

SOUTH ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- Averie Lazzara, a 3-year-old from South Elgin, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia eight months ago. She needed blood immediately.

"The chemotherapy that she gets is designed to wipe out the bad cancer cells, but a byproduct of that is that it wipes out the good cells too, so blood transfusions for us are so important," said Averie's mother, Stacey Lazzara.

The transfusions transform Averie almost instantly, making her feel stronger.

"She actually knows them as her super powers. When she comes in to get a blood transfusion, we say, 'We're just getting super powers today' because it's one of the things for her that she gets to walk away feeling a lot better when she leaves the clinic than when she came in," Stacey said.

Averie has about 18 months of treatment left at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.
"I think some of that innocence of being three and going through this actually really helps her through her journey because it gives her the strength to just get up, fight through it and to stay active," Stacey said.

Averie's strength is a source of inspiration for mom Stacey and the rest of her family.

"I look at her and I think, 'If she can be this brave, how can I not?'" Stacey said. "Because if she's going through it with a smile, then we're all going to get through it with a smile. Because that's what she's inspiring us to do."

The ABC 7 Great Chicago Blood Drive will take place at three locations: the Merchandise Mart, 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the Drake Oak Brook Hotel, 2301 York Road, Oak Brook, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the new location at CDW, 165 N. Lakeview Parkway, Vernon Hills, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org. Eligible donors are encouraged to make an appointment to donate at the Red Cross Blood Drive, but walk-ins are also welcome.

Appointments can be made by downloading the American Red Cross Blood Donor App by visiting redcrossblood.org (enter sponsor code: ABC7Chicago) or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment prior to the drive or for more information. All blood types are needed. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health, may be eligible to donate blood.
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