Naperville North High School student with Sickle Cell disease hosting blood drive

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A Naperville North High School senior is looking to help those with blood-related issues after dealing with some of his own.

Who is Zavion Charles?

Zavion Charles was born with Sickle Cell disease, a group of red blood cell disorders. When hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to the body, is abnormal, red blood cells become rigid and sticky sickle-shaped cells, which makes them die early, get stuck in small blood vessels, and create a shortage of cells.

He received a total of eight transfusions due to low hemoglobin levels, and after his last two and being hospitalized for nearly a month, he decided to partner with the blood donation provider Vitalant on a blood drive.

“Hosting this blood drive, to me, it’s like helping people because it’s giving me a chance to give back and help people who are also in my situation, who may not be as fortunate as me,” said Zavion. 

Doing what he loves

Growing up, Zavion loved basketball but was unable to play because of Sickle Cell disease. Still, he was able to get involved in the game.

“Zavion came up to us as coaches and said that he wanted to be a manager for the team this year. He had talked about how he knew all the players and grew up with them, and he just wanted to be a part of something bigger than himself and to give back and help the team,” said Gene Nolan, boys basketball Head Coach at Naperville North High School.

The team noticed his support and is giving back to their manager by helping with the blood drive.

“I think that’s a big part of our program. Being there that day is to support and give to Zavion and his family all the things that he’s given to our program, and so we’re excited and can’t wait to be there,” said Nolan.

Zavion is looking to support the blood drive like he does his team.

“I think the blood drive is very important in terms of helping the community because it’s giving me the chance to give back and allowing me to do, in a way, what I love, which is helping people, because that’s kind of what I’m doing as a basketball manager, you know, it’s just helping people,” said Zavion.

Appreciation from those around him

Those close to Zavion admire him for his commitment.

“Zavion is an incredible kid. The best way to describe him is everything that he does is about other people. From the blood drive this coming Sunday to being a manager, he just goes through his day wanting to make other people’s days better,” said Nolan. 

About the Team Zavion Blood Drive

The Team Zavion Blood Drive will be held on Jan. 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Naperville Safety Town at 1320 Aurora Ave. Walk-ins are accepted but appointments are recommended.

Appointments can be made by calling 877-258-4825 or at by using the group code: 10055561.

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