Miller ... battling leukemia.
Miller ... battling leukemia.

When Abi Miller was diagnosed with acute lymphoid leukemia at age 26 and had to be given blood, her family decided to give it right back.

Following the 2010 cancer diagnosis, Miller spent six months in the hospital receiving medical treatments, including multiple blood and platelet transfusions, said her sister, Jennifer Crowther.

Blood can't be manufactured or created in a lab, and it must be donated from the body, she said. So Crowther, 32, and her parents decided to partner with the local Red Cross to hold a 2011 blood drive in her sister's honor.

More than 100 people came out, Crowther said.

The drive seemed like it would be a one-time community event, she said, but the family is hoping to hold blood drives annually or every other year — starting with one on Sunday.

Giving back: The drive follows Miller's second leukemia diagnosis in November 2013. The registered nurse is a 2002 graduate of Dallastown Area High School and lives in Shrewsbury.

Miller, who will turn 30 in August, recently received her second bone marrow transplant, and her father was the donor, Crowther said. During her first bout of leukemia, she lost weight and wasn't as healthy as she is today, she said.

"She's doing much better," the York Township resident said.

Her family will host the second blood drive from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Bridgeway Community Church, 255 Reynolds Mill Road in York Township.

"It was just a way for our family to give back," Crowther said.

Need for blood: The drive comes at a time of year that the local Red Cross sees fewer donors: summer. About 20 percent of blood donations come from high schools and colleges, so when school is out during the summer months, those donors usually don't give elsewhere, said Steve Mavica, spokesman of the Chesapeake and Potomac Blood Services Region of the Red Cross.

"It tends to make for a very challenging time of the year to collect blood," he said.

Many donors are also often out of town for vacation and holidays, Mavica said.

"A drive around this time is very crucial," he said.

Drives like this can make a significant impact to ensure there is a stable blood supply all summer long, he said.

Although walk-ins are welcome, Mavica encourages potential donors to make an appointment to ensure they have a time slot.

To make an appointment for this drive, donors can call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org/make-donation and enter sponsored code 05315456.

— Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.

Give blood

A blood drive in honor of Abi Miller, a 29-year-old leukemia patient from Shrewsbury, will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Bridgeway Community Church, 255 Reynolds Mill Road in York Township.

To make an appointment, donors can call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org/make-donation and enter sponsored code 05315456. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Those who want to help Miller with her medical expenses can donate to the Abigail Miller Foundation at www.abigailmillerfoundation.org.