Darlington School will host a blood drive on Thursday, Nov. 12, in honor of Margaret Olivera. The Blood Assurance Blood Vessel will be at the steps of the McCallie-Kennedy Upper School Library from 2 to 7 p.m. for those who wish to donate.
The first-grade student was diagnosed last summer with Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disorder that results in bone marrow failure. On Oct. 30, Margaret received a stem cell transplant in Cincinnati, where she will remain during her recovery through February.
"Before her transplant and even now she is dependent on blood transfusions,” said Sara (Harbin) Pickett ('95), Margaret's mother and a local pediatrician. "There is always a need for blood, especially in Rome. The community uses more blood than is actually donated.”
Margaret began her time at Darlington last year in kindergarten, but was withdrawn earlier this year so that she and her family could focus on her health.
"She is little in stature, but has a very big personality. She loves life and is always happy and smiling," said Jody Deaton, kindergarten teacher. "Before we know it she will be back here with us, enjoying friends and enjoying school. We love you, Margaret!"
Margaret’s sister, Virginia ('23), and stepsister, Emma Pickett (‘26), also attend Darlington.
“We wanted to find a way to honor Margaret and her journey to be healthy again, and we're so happy to be able to give this small token of love from her Darlington family,” said Reba Barnes, director of servant leadership.
Those wishing to give blood in Margaret Olivera’s name must be 16 years or older; 16-year-olds must have written consent from a parent or guardian. Those wishing to sign up in advance can do so by contacting Reba Barnes or signing up during lunch period between now and Nov. 12.
“Margaret is grateful for all of the gifts, messages and notes, as well as all of the prayers and well wishes that we have received,” added Pickett.
For additional information about the Blood Assurance blood drive, please contact Reba Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to view a photo gallery from the blood drive.
Editor's Note: Those who are also interested in joining the bone marrow registry can start the process by accessing more information at BeTheMatch.org.