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14-Year-Old Makes a Birthday Wish for A Blood Drive and Wish Will Be Granted

February 08, 2016

Category: Athletics, Events

Yates is an honorary teammate on
the Catawba Men's Soccer team.

Even though Valentine’s Day will be officially concluded, you can still share the love on Monday, February 15, by donating blood during a Blood Drive hosted on campus by Catawba Men’s Soccer and the Community Blood Center of the Carolinas.

The Blood Drive, slated from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Peeler Crystal Lounge of the Robertson College-Community Center on Catawba’s campus, is also the fulfillment of a birthday wish of Alex Yates, a Salisbury youth who was welcomed by Catawba Soccer this year as an honorary teammate.

Yates, who will celebrate his 14th birthday on February 20, told his family that rather than gifts or a party, he would rather help others by organizing this blood drive. When his family communicated that to his teammates on Catawba Men’s Soccer, Coach Ken Hassler and his players set about making it a birthday wish that will come true.

 alexyates16c.jpg Yates (center) holds his team uniform.

Yates is a medical miracle himself. When he was younger, he was always sick, often with pneumonia. It was not until March of 2008 that he was diagnosed with Primary Coliary Disconesia, a rare genetic lung dysfunction where the tiny hair-like structures (cilia) that are supposed to move mucus out of the airways are abnormal and do not move. The mucus accumulates, causing blockage and infections. Due to his condition, Yates gets infusions of antibiotics and has a feeding tube where he gets most of his nutrients.

alexyates16b.jpg"He truly epitomizes what it means to be a fighter and is an inspiration to his teammates on the soccer squad at Catawba," Hassler said. "So to anyone who wants to help Alex celebrate his 14th birthday by making his wish come true, we invite you to come out and give blood. There’ll be cake, snacks and a real celebration."