March 27, 2008

Fast facts:
Blood drive at HACC-Lancaster

What: Free community blood drive organized by Shaneice Felder, nursing student at the Lancaster Campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College

When: Blood drive - 10 a.m.-4 p.m., entertainment - 5-7 p.m., both Wednesday, April 2

Where: Main Building, Lancaster Campus, 1641 Old Philadelphia Pike, Lancaster

Who: Participants include the American Red Cross Northeastern Pennsylvania Blood Region, The Gift of Life, American Kidney Foundation, HACC-Lancaster Student Government Association and WLAN FM97 as well as volunteer performers

Why: In August, Shaneice Felder was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood and kidneys. Her experience and outpouring of community support is the impetus behind her efforts to organize a community blood drive.


Lupus victim Shaneice Felder of Lancaster is fighting for her life the best way she knows how: positive attitude with support from family and friends, finding out all she can about her disease - and organizing a community blood drive.

Before her diagnosis, Felder, 20, was fulfilling her mission to help heal people. A nursing student at the Lancaster Campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, she also is a nursing aide at Lancaster General Hospital.

Facing the challenges of coping with the inflammatory disease prompted Felder to find out as much as she can about lupus, which can damage organs, skin, joints and blood vessels. Coping with her illness, which requires nine hours of dialysis seven nights a week, also inspired her pledge to educate the public on the importance of signing up to be an organ donor. With a kidney function of about 10 percent, Felder is currently on a kidney transplant waiting list at PinnacleHealth Hospital in Harrisburg.

When Felder shared her story with the local media earlier this year, she talked about her determination to organize a blood drive for the community.

Despite being physically drained by her disease, Felder accomplished that goal: The event is set for Wednesday, April 2, at the HACC-Lancaster Campus with the participation of the American Red Cross Northeastern Pennsylvania Blood Region, The Gift of Life, American Kidney Foundation and the Student Government Association at the Lancaster Campus of HACC.

The blood drive will be held from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Room 222 of the Main Building. In addition, WLAN FM-97 will be on hand with a prize wheel, games and music from 2-4 p.m.

From 5-7 p.m., entertainment in the downstairs cafeteria of the Main Building will include a solo by Shanise Christmas, a nursing aide at Lancaster General; poetry readings by Dekendra Waites, a student at HACC Lancaster, and Stephanie Thomas, a secretary at Price Elementary School, and performances by Abandoned Lyrics, a youth mentorship program, and the Tom Pontz Trio with Pontz on the piano, Bruce Campbell on bass and Dave Young on drums.

"Through sickness, I've learned the true beauty of life," says Felder, who is amazed by the outpouring of community support. From her church, to people e-mailing her, to the hospital staff, her teachers at HACC-Lancaster and to the community-at-large, everyone she has been in touch with has offered genuine support.

"I hope my story will encourage and inspire people to help save lives," adds Felder, who plans to take her plight to state lawmakers in Harrisburg and is discussing making a movie with the Gift of Life. "I had to learn that God has the master plan and with Him by my side, I will be all right."

Felder adds, "At the end of the day, I have to fight for my life, but that's okay, because the end result is life."

Fast facts on lupus, organ donation:

  • As many as 2,000 people in the United States have lupus, an unpredictable autoimmune disease that causes fatigue and fever.
  • Lupus can attack skin, connective tissue, kidneys, liver and joints.
  • Patients on organ donor waiting lists are on a first-come, first-served basis but dependent on a perfect transplant match. The wait varies from as little as one year to three years or more.
  • In 2007, 2,000 patients died while awaiting organ transplants.
  • Through the efforts of the nonprofit Gift of Life, people can register on their driver's licenses to be organ donors. Registrants can choose which organs they wish to donate.
  • Since the program was established, approximately 5,000 people have signed up with more 7,000 patients receiving life-saving organs.
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