Vitalant Hosts Blood Drive In Honor of Grantley Johnson

Grantley is battling leukemia for the second time at just 7 years old

FARGO, N.D. — Hero, heart, community.

Those are the words you see hanging in Vitalant’s lobby when you first walk in.

They embody the organization’s mission to help Grantley Johnson, a 7–year–old boy battling leukemia for the second time.

“Growing up, I had some medical issues of my own, so seeing a little boy who had so much fight in him, I wanted to make sure that he knew that his fight was worth it, and everybody in this community is going to stand behind him, that he doesn’t have to be a superhero because he’s a superhero in our eyes,” said even organizer Mara Dokukin.

She hosted a blood drive in Grantley’s name called “Not All Heroes Wear Capes,” inspired by his love of superheroes.

It’s why nearly 50 people ranging from family friends to mere strangers rolled up their sleeves for the day.

“We’re just here to help Grantley and let him know we support him, and we want to get as many people through the door to help donate blood,” said his wrestling coach Lane Lunde.

But not just people — Captain America also made a visit to the donation center.

Although for some, donating is simply part of their routine.

“I guess I’ve been donating for probably 25 years. Initially to help others and we had somebody in my family, personal family, about 20 years ago that needed some blood. So since then, I’ve tried to do it on a regular basis. I’m here today because I wanted to do it, but now I have a special reason to help Grantley out,” said blood donor Jack Schmidz.

And to this Fargo man, being a donor is a no–brainer.

“It makes so much sense. And it doesn’t take any – you don’t lose anything because it comes back to you right away. Giving is receiving,” said Thomas Jefferson.

He hopes his gift to Grantley will be useful.

“I didn’t know about this until I walked in, so I’m happy to be a part of it. I hope he can use my blood,” he added.

Dokukin says donating blood is one of the simplest ways to support Grantley and other kids battling cancer.

“I love that I’m able to give back to my community by getting other people to give back in their community. There’s a lot of misconceptions. Most people can donate blood, and you can make a difference by spending a little bit of time. You don’t have to have the financial responsibility to make a difference. It’s just taking the time and rolling up your sleeve.”

If you didn’t make it out to the blood drive, you can donate anytime at Vitalant.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News