GULFPORT, Miss. (NNS) -- Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 74 volunteered Aug. 4 to donate blood to help the daughter of a shipmate.
Yeoman 1st Class Timothy Gilbert's daughter Timia, age 6, was diagnosed with atypical rhabdoid tumor (AT/RT) at age three.
Only one in one million children are diagnosed with AT/RT each year in the United States. Timia went into remission but relapsed and will again undergo chemotherapy to eradicate the cancer cells.
"Timia takes chemotherapy five times a week and needs platelets once a month, but in the beginning she needed blood more often," said Gilbert, who is assigned to NMCB-74 Headquarters.
The blood drive was set up by The Blood Center, which supplies all of Jackson County and 40 hospitals in southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi, including Tulane Children's Hospital where Timia, now 6, receives treatment. Lt. Gregory Hazlett, command chaplain, coordinated NMCB-74's blood drive.
"The cool thing about this is it takes care of one of our dependents, and a portion of the blood will go to Timia and sick children like her in the hospital," said Hazlet. "Any time we give blood we save lives."
"I showed my team a picture of Timia to encourage them with a reminder of the benefit to the family," said Pat Warfield, coastal regional director for the Blood Center.
It was a worker at the blood center that brought the condition of Timia to Warfield's attention and the Blood Center contacted the Gilbert family to initiate the blood drive. "When we were contacted by the Blood Center it warmed my heart to know that the center was going to help Timia and all the other children at the hospital," said Gilbert.
"I wanted to give blood to support the command and especially in support of a child of a Seabee in need," said Builder Construction Apprentice Heaven Brooks, NMCB 74.
"I hate needles, but I'll come over to donate for a good cause, and it's always better when it's a fellow Seabee," said Equipment Operator Construction Apprentice Travis Love, assigned to NMCB-74's Alfa Company.
Seabees from other battalions also volunteered for the event to show support for the Gilbert family. "I normally like to volunteer for things to help people, such as give blood. I hope a fellow Seabee would do the same for me if I were in a similar situation," said Construction Electrician Construction Recruit Marcos Saenz, assigned to NMCB-11.
Amidst last minute preparations for NMCB-74's deployment to Afghanistan, 43 Seabees from the command had donated blood. According to Warfield, for every donation three people will be helped, which creates what she called "a win-win situation-the hospital gets the blood they need and the family gets assistance."
"My family and I would like to say 'thank you' to the forty-three people who donated, and the other fifty who tried to donate, blood on behalf on my daughter," said Gilbert. "The donated blood will not only benefit my daughter, but other children at the Children's Hospital who are in desperate need."
For more news from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmcb74/.