Reno Aces employee details battle with rare blood disease

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - We've been covering Vitalant's 3rd Annual Battle of the Badges Blood Drive happening much of the summer, which involves local law enforcement and first responders.

Wednesday’s event at Greater Nevada Field had a more personal feel, as one Reno Aces employee details how blood donations saved his life.

"It's really special for me to work with Vitalant and bring this to the ballpark where I work every day and then encourage my employees and my co-workers to come and save a life,” Jackson Gaskins explains. He’s the Communications Manager for the Aces and suffers from hereditary spherocytosism, a rare blood disease affecting his parents, siblings and even his grandmother.

"I got a chance to see my little sister going through it, it’s heartbreaking. You wish that on no family,” Gaskins details. He needed multiple blood transfusions and missed out on athletics as a child. Something as normal as the common cold could land him in the hospital for a week, adding, “It's important and vital for us to raise awareness that we need it right now and right now is 365 days a year.”

Blood donations aren't just for car crashes and accidents, they're crucial for those battling diseases or even catastrophic incidents such as mass shootings and natural disasters.

"They're using blood that has already been collected, now it's our job to replenish that. So if it's always on hand, when you or your family or your friends go to the hospital and need it, for whatever the reason may be, it's going to be available, " Gaskins tells KOLO 8.

Vitalant says one in seven people who go the hospital are in need of blood. Gaskins adds, “It can save a child's energy from going from the worst day of their life to the best day of their life, they're feeling good again."

The Battle of the Badges is a fun twist on a serious matter. Blood donations are critical in the silver state and beyond. The last day of the blood drive is August 22nd, with opportunities to give at Reno Dispatch and at the Battle Mountain Civic Center.

For more information head here

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