EUREKA TOWNSHIP – Typically, children think of superheroes as superhumans who can fly, have super strength and wear cool outfits.
For 8-year-old Blake Hulliberger, his superheroes are regular local people who donate blood and bone marrow that he hopes will save his life.
Hulliberger, of Greenville, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009 and relapsed in September.
“We still have about a year of treatment to go,” said his mother, Kristeen Hulliberger.
The Greenville Community Church will hold a blood drive in Blake Hulliberger’s name on Sept. 22 from noon until 6 p.m.
This will be the third blood drive the church has held in Blake Hulliberger’s name.
For every day an elementary student is in school, as many as 46 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer, according to goldthenewpink.net, a website created by former Greenville resident Dawn Burgess, who lost her son, Braeden, then 3 years old, to cancer in April 2009.
September is child cancer awareness month, however, for the Hullibergers, awareness is non-stop.
Kristeen Hulliberger said when the church and Red Cross held the first blood drive in honor of her son, the Red Cross was prepared to receive blood donations from around 50 people but were overwhelmed with twice that many.
When Blake was diagnosed, he had less than one-forth of his normal blood cells left, according to his mother, who added that the cancer had taken over his bone marrow and blood cell production at that time.
“The (blood) transfusion saved his life,” she said. “Someone that thought ahead and gave blood saved his life.”
She said after her son received his first transfusion he also received plasma, red blood and platelets on a continued basis while undergoing treatment.
“We call them our superheroes,” Kristeen Hulliberger said of the many people who donated to help save Blake’s life.
Because blood donation levels are typically so low, children such as Blake have to wait days before they can get the transfusion they need, said Kristeen.
Despite his heroic fight against the disease, Blake continues to live his life as normally as he can, learning archery and how to play basketball, aspiring to one day play in the Gus Macker basketball tournament.
As a member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan, Blake had the opportunity to meet a few comic book superheroes. His favorite is the Incredible Hulk.
Blake is in the process of collecting Poke Prizes, which are the prizes children get after their treatments. Now through Sept. 30, people can go to refresheverything.com, type in “Blake” and vote on his project to help bring more Poke Prizes and food to the children battling cancer.
People also can drop off yellow caps from Pepsi products at the blood drive, which will count as power votes for Blake.
A benefit concert will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Faith Baptist Church in Greenville on Oct. 1. Admission is free and all proceeds benefit CureSearch for Childhood Cancer.