Blood drive held on Long Island in support of 8-year-old boy with leukemia

Stacey Sager Image
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Blood donation held in support of 8-year-old boy with leukemia
The community of Port Jefferson is coming together to help support 8-year-old Tenzin Tanaka who was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Stacey Sager has the story.

PORT JEFFERSON, Long Island (WABC) -- A community on Long Island has their sights set on saving a little boy who was diagnosed with leukemia this past summer.

Third grader Tenzin Tanaka was back at Terryville Elementary on Wednesday, but the 8-year-old and his mom are just wishing he was well enough to go full time.

Instead, they settle on some books. Tenzin Tanaka doesn't like to talk about his cancer, but he does love many other topics, including his favorite superhero Flash, because he respects Flash's healing powers, and Legos, Lay's potato chips and all of his pets.

Tanaka says he has five ducks, one dog and five cats.

He was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia last June. He also just moved to the Comsewogue School District. His single mom and older brother are feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about their future.

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"As soon as Tenzin was diagnosed, I was told I had to stop working," Tenzin's mom Colleen Tanaka said. "There was no way I could manage all of it. So financially, that was really scary. Medically, it was really scary, because there were moments where we weren't sure."

But the school district never missed a beat. In fact, on Monday, they raised more than $10,000 at a St. Baldrick's head shaving event, and now a blood drive is being held at the school.

"We actually run four blood drives throughout the year, but we decided to dedicate this one to Tenzin specifically, because he's our littlest warrior," Comsewogue School Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Quinn said.

"We're told quite often that the blood bank is like desperate for blood, so it's really nice that the community is coming together to give blood, and it's not just for him, it's for all the children," Colleen Tanaka said.

The school district will continue to help Tenzin and his family. A comedy event will be held this Sunday in Mount Sinai, and they have a special fan page for Tenzin on their website.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help raise money.

Tenzin's chemotherapy won't end until October of 2024. It's not an easy journey for a little boy, but the school district has his back.


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