Staff and students of Cabot Junior High North are rallying behind Barrett Stark, their friend and student, who is fighting cancer at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. A call has been made for anyone in the community who can, to honor Barrett’s battle with a blood donation.

The American Red Cross has announced a special blood drive in Barrett Stark’s name will be held Tuesday, Aug. 12, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Cabot Junior High School North, 38 Spirit Drive, Cabot.

Stark was diagnosed with leukemia this year, just after his 14th birthday. Since beginning his battle with the cancer in April he has undergone chemotherapy and other treatments, and has received four platelet transfusions and at least 10 red blood cell transfusions.

The ARC reports facing a looming blood shortage and that there is an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and offer hope to patients like Barrett

ARC reports that donations in the Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Blood Services Region are down approximately 23 percent over the last 11 weeks, which means about 4,000 fewer donations than expected. Should the number of donors continue to decline, the shortfall could mean ARC will experience an emergency situation in the coming weeks.

Stark’s mother, Polly Pettey, says the diagnosis has hit the family hard. "It’s been an emotional rollercoaster," she said. "He was an athlete. He was so active and really loved the outdoors. It’s been very life-changing."

Stark said he is very thankful for blood donors. "It feels really good knowing that people are helping me and my family. I love knowing that people are donating blood to help other people," he said.

Anyone wishing to donate in Stark’s honor but cannot come to the blood drive, can call 800-733-2767 or go online to to make an appointment or for more information. If making an appointment online, be sure to enter enter sponsor code CABOTJH.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.