By TAYLOR HARTZ
A Red Cross blood drive will be held on April 25 in honor of Daniela Ciriello, a three-year-old Southington resident who requires blood transfusions every three weeks.
Daniela was diagnosed at the age of fourteen months with Beta Thalassemia, a chronic and often fatal genetic blood disorder.
According to Daniela’s mother, Nicole Ciriello, the disorder is treated with regular blood transfusions, without which Daniela would not survive. Daniela receives her transfusions every three weeks at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford and depends on donated blood to stay alive and healthy.
This is the second blood drive hosted by Grace United Methodist Church in honor of Daniela in the last year. A blood drive in November drew crowds that lined out the door to donate.
“We plan to make it even bigger this year,” said Ciriello, who will be present at the start of the blood drive with Daniela.
Ciriello said her family is so grateful for the support from the community, and urges Southington residents to remember that it is “beyond important to donate blood.”
Community members who come out to donate will be offered a wide variety of food and refreshments provided by the Ciriello family, Grace United Methodist Church, and local business sponsors like Café Del Mundo.
Additional fundraising for the non-profit foundation “Daniela’s Dream” will be provided by Daniela’s aunt, Angela Dillion. Dillon recently published a children’s book titled “Dance, Dani, Dance!” which follows Daniela throughout a trip to the hospital, teaching young readers about visiting the doctor’s office.
The book has recently been picked up by Southington elementary schools and is available in stores. Copies will be available at the blood drive during a book signing by Dillon, with all proceeds benefiting Daniela’s Dream.
The blood drive will be held at Grace United Methodist Church at 121 Pleasant St., from 8:30am-1:30 pm on April 25.