Elementary school hosts blood drive for teacher’s son with rare blood disorder

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Students and staff at Eugene Field are setting up a blood drive at their school to support a teacher in need.

Rebecca Zangara says her favorite part about being a 2nd Grade Teacher at Eugene Field Elementary is being around her kids.

“They’re so resilient and they adapt to whatever they have, whatever is given to them,” Zangara said.

In April, Zangara and her husband found out they’d be having a child of their own. At her first 20-week ultrasound, they got unexpected news.

“He had, kind of, a hand abnormality: His right forearm is shorter than it should be and he is missing his thumb,” Zangara said.

Zangara with her newborn Lucas Zangara.

The baby was also under the 10-percentile for growth. At every following ultrasound, doctors would monitor Zangara’s pregnancy. On November 5th, she had to get an emergency C-section resulting in the birth of her son Lucas Zangara a month early.

“I didn’t get to see him right away because he was extremely pale, ghost-like,” Zangara said.

Lucas was taken to the NICU because he was suffering from cardiac and repertory failure. Doctors immediately began giving Lucas blood transfusions.

Lucas in the NICU.

“That was really hard being a first-time mom… not knowing if he was going to make it,” Zangara said.

After genetic testing, Lucas was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan Anemia. A genetic condition that was unknowingly passed down from Zangara.

“I don’t have any anemia problems. I never have my whole life,” Zangara said.

Lucas needs to get regular transfusions because he can’t make red blood cells that sustain life.

“He will need to be given transfusions for the rest of his life,” Zangara said.

Lucas and his father.

To help make this easier for her family, fellow teacher and friend Jody Blake helped organize for the blood mobile to park in front of the school so students and teachers can donate blood.

“You know, I think it was just tugging on our heart strings of, ‘what can we do?’ ‘how can we help?’ and this is one of her requests: that we would donate blood. So, I think having the bloodmobile here, I was really excited about that. It just makes it so much easier to donate,” Blake said.

The bloodmobile is open to staff, students and their families to donate.

“To spread this kind of awareness and just feel that support from my school community and my co-workers is just amazing,” Zangara said.

Zangara says she hopes Lucas will enter remission like her to avoid future issues.

The Zangara family.

The Bloodmobile will be at the school on January 27th. Zangara says right now they’ll continue with regular transfusions until Lucas is about 2 years old, then he’ll be of age to try other treatments. The family also has GoFundMe page.

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