Benjamin the Brave

The Giving Coast


The force will surely be with you this Friday, as a special “May the Fourth” Star Wars-themed blood drive and awareness event will commence, in memory of Benjamin Gilkey. Benjamin Gilkey was nine years old when he died in 2017 from relapsed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, after battling the pediatric cancer since his diagnosis on New Years Eve of 2014. He was ultimately the recipient of 100 blood and platelet transfusions during his two years of care at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. His parents are now joining hands with local facilities, sponsors and families who have been affected by cancer to put together this commemorative event to honor their son.

"May 4th would have been Benji's last day of treatment if he hadn't relapsed," shares his mother, Laura Gilkey. "We can't let the day go by without commemorating his bravery, and the bravery of the people who selflessly donate blood and bone marrow to save the lives of others."

The event will feature a OneBlood blood drive, a Be the Match bone marrow registry, lunch from Nancy's Bar-B-Q and a lemonade stand operated by two of Benjamin's Johns Hopkins All Children's friends who are celebrating the end of their cancer treatment. Lunch will be provided to blood donors free of charge. Other guests at the event are encouraged to purchase food and drinks (cash only). Proceeds from the sales will benefit The Benjamin Gilkey Fund for Innovative Pediatric Cancer Research at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital—created to help improve, prolong and preserve the lives of children like Benjamin, who are unbelievably strong.

Located in the shaded west parking lot at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Outpatient Care Facility, come give the “force of life” to those who need it most on Friday, May 4th, 10am to 2pm.

Images provided by Laura Gilkey & The Benjamin Gilkey Fund for Innovative Pediatric Cancer Research

Johns Hopkins All Children's Outpatient Care, 5881 Rand Blvd., Sarasota, 34238, 941-927-8805.

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