ASHTABULA, Ohio — The American Red Cross is hosting a special blood drive today in memory of beloved Oliviah Brown-Hall who left a remarkable impact on the Northeast Ohio community during her short life.
The 10-year-old passed away four years ago after losing a hard-fought battle with Glioblastoma Multiforme Grade 4 (GBM), which is an aggressive brain cancer.
During the final months of Oliviah's life, she actually planned on attending a blood drive that was organized in her honor.
She tragically died before the event, but more than 100 people came together to give the gift of life.
Four years later, the community continues to carry on her legacy. This time it's happening through a blood drive in Ashtabula Thursday afternoon.
It's no secret-- Oliviah stole the hearts of everyone she came in contact with and touched so many lives. She brought immense joy and happiness to everyone she came in contact with.
Her loved ones say she never let her battle with cancer define her.
"It's just crazy to think that it's now been four years. It still feels like yesterday," Tina Rausch, Oliviah's aunt said.
Her light continues to shine as her family and friends continue to feel her impact and remark on her legacy.
"I always said, you know, she never met a stranger. It was always, you know, a friend that she didn't know," Rausch said. "She loved to just make people smile and forget about any of the troubles that they had."
Oliviah was just 8 years old when she was diagnosed with cancer. It initially rocked her family, as they processed the details.
"I have some nurse friends and they're in pediatric oncology. And so, I called them, and I said, oh my goodness, what do we do with this? I didn't know much myself. And they said, whatever you do, don't Google it. It's just a terrible thing, a terrible rabbit hole to go down if you start googling symptoms," Rausch said.
But as Oliviah underwent intense treatment she continued to give back. She hosted toy and clothing drives and helped a number of non-profits.
She even started the Team Oliviah Foundation to support children with life-threatening illnesses and find a cure for childhood cancer.
While Oliviah never required blood donations, she still learned there was a huge need.
"A lot of the kids that we were encountering in the Pediatric Chemo Department were requiring blood transfusions. So, hosting blood drives became one of the things that Oliviah was really interested in doing as well and just saving lives," Rausch said.
The American Red Cross says blood donations are vital.
January is National Blood Donor month, and during the winter months, hospitals see an increased demand for blood.
"January is always a difficult time for us, especially after the holidays. Everyone's sort of getting back into their routines. We've all been on a break. A lot of people are out of their normal routines and haven't been giving blood," Christy Peters, American Red Cross Regional Communications Manager said.
The Red Cross and Oliviah's family are encouraging all donors to come out and help save a life.
"It's a wonderful time to not only remember Oliviah but help ensure that other patients who are facing what she faced have the blood products and help they need to overcome those diseases," Peters said.
"She was an impactful little girl at 10 years old. So, we want to just continue that memory of her," Rausch said.
Donors can make an appointment at Redcrossblood.org with the sponsor code "TEAMOLIVIAH".
Walk-ins are also welcome.
You can Donate Blood in memory of Oliviah Brown-Hall Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, from 1 to 6 p.m. in the Community Room at Ashtabula Towne Square Mall located at 3315 N. Ridge Rd. E., Ashtabula, OH 44004.