SAYREVILLE, N.J. (WABC) -- A blood drive was held Tuesday to help an 8-year old New Jersey boy who is battling leukemia.
Nico Oneto was diagnosed in September with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, and has needed blood and platelet transfusions during his treatment.
He has been undergoing chemotherapy and participating in research studies for his aggressive cancer.
The blood drive was held at the Emma L. Stone Arleth elementary school in Sayreville.
Oneto is a patient at The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, which partnered on the drive with "Nico's Ninjas," a group organized to support and raise funds for the Oneto family following Nico's diagnosis.
"I have never seen such a dynamic effort by so many volunteers to support a patient's need," said Sally Wells, business development liaison, RWJUH Blood Services. "The Arleth School and Nico's Ninjas are totally engaged for this effort, and we hope that others step forward not only to help the Oneto family but to ensure that a variety of blood and blood product supplies are maintained for cancer, trauma and other patients who need them."
"Through this journey with Nico, we have realized the real importance of blood donations," said Chrissy Vasata, an Oneto family friend and "Nico's Ninjas" co-founder. "Nico has received countless blood and platelet transfusions, and he still requires blood and platelets often. When donors give blood, you really are saving someone's life."
Arleth School Nurse Judith Berg-Friel described Oneto as a wonderful student and said his peers and teachers and school staff are eager to send positive energy to him and his family and do whatever they can to help. "Our recent 'Nickels for Nico' campaign collected more than $2,000 for him and his family, and, for Valentine's Day, our students shared video messages with Nico to lift his spirits. The blood drive on Tuesday is another way of letting Nico and his family know that their community supports them."
In addition to giving blood, donors can undergo a bone marrow screening, which requires a simple mouth swab to determine eligibility, at the blood drive.
To schedule an appointment to donate, visit http://www.rwjuhdonorclub.org or call (732) 235-8100, ext. 221. Walk-ins also will be welcome.