St. Vincent Healthcare Supports Billings Senior High Student for Organizing Blood Drives for Fellow Students

St. Vincent Healthcare is committed to increasing community awareness about the need for regular blood donation; so when an opportunity presented to support a local Billings Senior High School junior who had a desire to host a school blood drive, the St. Vincent Foundation eagerly obliged. 

“Our nation and our community is facing a very serious blood shortage -- and we need to make sure our younger generations understand the significance of blood donation,” said St. Vincent Foundation Executive Director, Ty Elkin. “We are happy to support Dax and the work he is doing to raise awareness about blood donation among his peers.” 

Dax Wilson, 16, is dedicating his school “Platinum Project” to raising awareness about the importance and need for blood donation; and he didn’t need to look far for inspiration. His mother, Cassidy Brophy, is alive today thanks to the generosity of blood donors 17 years ago. On May 22, 2003, just 24 hours after Dax was born via emergency Caesarean section, Cassidy was in the intensive care unit at St. Vincent Healthcare. She had developed a rare blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). In TTP, blood clots form in small blood vessels throughout the body, which can limit or block the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the body’s organs. By the time Cassidy was discharged on June 18, she had used approximately 700 units of blood products.

“I am incredibly proud and honored that Dax has chosen blood donation as his platinum project. He recognizes the impact this has on individuals, families, and our community,” said Cassidy. “Looking back, to when he was born, my only goal was to get through it so that I could get home to him. Due to the generosity of hundreds of strangers, through blood donation, I am here today to see the incredible young man he is becoming.” 

On Thursday, January 30, St. Vincent Healthcare hosted a press conference with local media to discuss the need for blood that exists not only in Montana, but throughout the entire country. In addition to Cassidy and Dax sharing their personal experience with the need for blood and Dax’s district-wide blood drive project, Dr. Julianna Papez, DO, with Billings OBGYN spoke to the importance of blood donation and the life-saving impact it has on OB patients at the hospital.

Before the press conference concluded, Elkin presented Dax with $2,500 on behalf of the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation in support of his blood drives planned in March and April. With the funding, Dax plans to offer a raffle drawing at each blood drive of all three high schools and a prize to the school with the highest percentage of donors.

“I know how important blood donation is because of what my mom went through, but I don’t think most kids my age understand how critical it is that our local blood supplier, Vitalant, has enough blood to supply our community and region,” Dax pointed out. “My hope is to create more awareness and knowledge about blood donation among my peers, while also generating some friendly competition between Senior, West and Skyview to see which school can have the best turnout during the blood drive.”

Local Media Coverage:

Billings Gazette

Q2 News

KULR8 News

Vitalant, Billings’ blood supplier, provides blood to more than 30 hospitals across Montana and Northwest Wyoming. To donate today, click here.

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