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Blood drive to support two members of Gretna church both fighting serious illnesses

Published On: Dec 31 2013 06:27:54 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 31 2013 06:39:50 PM EST

A young baby is fighting a rare form of Leukemia. Also, a young woman is fighting a life-threatening sickness.


Connie and Jordan Parker are ready for 2013 to end.

Since July, the two have spent the majority of their time at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina with their 16 month old daughter Claire Parker.

"We're done with the intense part treatment and now we go to what they call continuation, and she'll be on two oral chemo's everyday and she'll get one weekly infusion," said Jordan Parker.

Claire is part of an experimental treatment program. A Facebook video posted on a page made for her shows Claire riding an IV pole around the halls of the hospital. The sickness hasn't kept her from sharing that sweet smile.

"She's fantastic. She doesn't know any different. She wakes up in the morning, and goes right to the door and puts her mask on and goes out and plays with the nurses," Parker said.

Gifts and money have poured in from around the world in support of baby Claire and are piling up in her grandparents house in Gretna.

"She got over 63 hundred cards for her birthday.""She's got a gift from an individual in Texas, she's received things from Puerto Rico, stuff from Europe," said Randy Parker, Claire's grandfather and the minister at West End Church of Christ.

"A lot of prayers, a lot of tears, have gone up for her," Randy said.

In the same congregation another member is spending most of her time at the same hospital.

Teresa Dalton is 23 and spent the last three years fighting Ewing's Sarcoma. A rare cancer that usually forms in children.

"Her last scan about two or three weeks ago showed about a 27 percent reduction. The cancer is on her liver now. And it showed a 27 percent reduction in that spot so that's very promising," said Robin Dalton, Teresa's mother.

Dalton's cancer is aggressive, she travels to North Carolina nearly every week for treatments, but her mother says she's staying positive.

Through their faith, the Dalton and Parker families are praying this new year will bring a cure.

The greater Lynchburg Chapter of the American Red Cross says both Dalton and Parker have used a large amount of blood during their treatments.

The Red Cross is hosting a blood drive in their honor at West End Church of Christ in Gretna on Saturday. It starts at 9 a.m. and goes until 2 that afternoon. Donations to help both families pay for hospital bills are also welcome.