Third-grade cancer survivor from Iowa inspires people to donate blood

Read Time:3 Minute, 35 Second


A Gilbert third-grader survived cancer, and now she’s inspiring people to roll up their sleeves to save lives. Riley Mahoney hugged her grandma to thank her for giving blood for the first time. She was one of the dozens of people who showed up to Gilbert Middle School on Tuesday to roll up their sleeves for a special cause. “It makes me feel happy because I feel like all these people care about me,” Riley said. She organized this blood drive to show people why donation is so important. Two years ago, a visit to the doctor for a sore throat turned into the worst news for Riley and her family. She was diagnosed with leukemia.”She was diagnosed August of 2019,” said Riley’s mother, Emily Mahoney. “I just remember not being able to breathe and physical pain. It takes your breath away.”For the next two and a half years, Riley endured chemo and needed dozens of blood transfusions to keep her alive.”It’s important to give blood because some kids or adults that have cancer, they don’t have enough blood so some people have to donate,” Riley said. Her message resonated with many Tuesday, and about 60 people donated.”It just seemed like a win-win. Helping somebody out and getting a chance to feel good about it,” said Staci Harper, who donated blood. “She did a really nice thing to organize this blood drive to help other people the same way she has been helped,” said Pavlo Pineyro, a parent who donated blood. Riley is done with treatment, cancer- free and showing her friends what it means to be a survivor.”She taught me to always be brave,” said Emery Osmundson, one of Riley’s friends.Now, she’s also teaching others what it means to save a life.”It means so much. These people took time out of their day and are donating part of their body to save my daughter and all the cancer kids,” Emily Mahoney said. You can sign up to donate blood here. More from Laura Terrell:

A Gilbert third-grader survived cancer, and now she’s inspiring people to roll up their sleeves to save lives.

Riley Mahoney hugged her grandma to thank her for giving blood for the first time.

She was one of the dozens of people who showed up to Gilbert Middle School on Tuesday to roll up their sleeves for a special cause.

“It makes me feel happy because I feel like all these people care about me,” Riley said.

She organized this blood drive to show people why donation is so important.

Two years ago, a visit to the doctor for a sore throat turned into the worst news for Riley and her family. She was diagnosed with leukemia.

“She was diagnosed August of 2019,” said Riley’s mother, Emily Mahoney. “I just remember not being able to breathe and physical pain. It takes your breath away.”

For the next two and a half years, Riley endured chemo and needed dozens of blood transfusions to keep her alive.

“It’s important to give blood because some kids or adults that have cancer, they don’t have enough blood so some people have to donate,” Riley said.

Her message resonated with many Tuesday, and about 60 people donated.

“It just seemed like a win-win. Helping somebody out and getting a chance to feel good about it,” said Staci Harper, who donated blood.

“She did a really nice thing to organize this blood drive to help other people the same way she has been helped,” said Pavlo Pineyro, a parent who donated blood.

Riley is done with treatment, cancer-free and showing her friends what it means to be a survivor.

“She taught me to always be brave,” said Emery Osmundson, one of Riley’s friends.

Now, she’s also teaching others what it means to save a life.

“It means so much. These people took time out of their day and are donating part of their body to save my daughter and all the cancer kids,” Emily Mahoney said.

You can sign up to donate blood here.

More from Laura Terrell:



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