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Something we can do to help

Never will the term “life-blood of the community” be more appropriate than it will be this Sunday.

Hundreds of people are expected to turn out at Saint Finbar’s Catholic Church to donate blood in honor of 5-year-old Matthew Fernandez, a student at the school who is fighting leukemia.

His cause — first rallied around by the school’s parent community — has now expanded well beyond the campus and into Burbank and the Greater L.A. region after his plight was picked up on local media outlets and Facebook, where hundreds of people of expressed interest in lending a pint.

There’s perhaps nothing more personal than donating blood, knowing that it will be given to someone who needs it to stay alive. In Matthew’s case, he’s already experienced the impact of low blood supplies, having to wait until the last minute to get a badly need transfusion after hospital officials had to seek out a match for his blood type.


It’s a precarious situation that, unfortunately, many cancer patients have to contend with on a regular basis as the intake of blood donations fails to keep pace with demand. Officials from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where Matthew is a patient, will be at the church’s community center, 2010 W. Olive Ave., from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday to take donations and help alleviate blood supply burdens.

We may all feel helpless in the face of a debilitating illness and the valiant effort of a 5-year-old to conquer it, but taking a few minutes out of our schedules to donate life-giving blood for Matthew and others like him — that’s something we all have the power, and the ability, to do.