Feet to the floor, it's warm up time for Boylan runner, Ashley Gomel. But hard exercise hasn't always been so easy for the 15 year old.
"When I was 5 years old, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis which is a rare autoimmune disease that affects a lot of my skin and muscle tissue," said Gomel.
During a flare-up, it leaves her tired and causes pain in her joints. For Gomel, relief comes in the form of blood thanks to a monthly transfusion.
"This we have found is vital in keeping my disease under control and making sure that I'm able to do things like come here to school, and go and run track, and have fun just like all my friends," Gomel said.
But lately, supplies are running dangerously low at the Rock River Valley Blood Center.
"This week we've had two different days where we've gotten down to one and to zero units of B+ on our shelves," said Jennifer Bowman with the RRVBC.
You read that right: zero.
"If we don't collect anything more, it's gone," said Bowman.
Bowman says there's been a greater need for blood lately, but the center is still recovering from a long winter that kept donors indoors. Now, she's calling on the community to step up.
"You can literally positively impact three lives with one hour of your time," Bowman said.
People like Gomel who is running toward a healthier future.
"It's very important because I wouldn't be here with out it," said Gomel.
If the Rock River Valley Blood Center, and the local hospitals it serves all run out of blood then it's up to the center to secure blood from other blood banks.
Also, RRVBC will hold its annual Red Shoe Run April 12th. Ashley Gomel will be speaking at this year's event.
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