I am writing to express my concern for people with disabilities, as my son and I are among them.
My 18 year old son, Nick, wanted to donate blood at the American Red Cross yesterday on 8-17-11 in Chester, IL. Nick has Cerebral Palsy, is in a wheelchair, but he can bear weight and transfer with my assistance. To my knowledge I do not know of any other medical reason that would prevent Nick from donating blood. We were told by the American Red Cross Supervisor that Nick could not donate blood because he could not physically get out of his wheelchair on to their recliner chair by himself. I explained to her that Nick's wheelchair tilts back to recline just like her chair does. She still refused us. I said, "If you give me a chair to put in front of him, Nick can stand up holding on to a chair and I will help him transfer." The supervisor said to me in a manner as if I could not help him), "You can help him." I said, "Yes, I am his mother and I help him everyday." The lady assumes because I had a prosthetic leg that I'm unable to assist him. Again, the supervisor said that no they would not draw his blood. As we turned to leave I was very ashamed of that woman whom being a supervisor is surely a nurse for the American Red Cross. I feel like my son and I were treated in a very discriminating manner.
Mary Chamness, advocate and mother of Nick Wiggs