CHARLES TOWN – The third annual memorial blood drive for the late James Blackwell “Blackie” Davis will be held at Zion Episcopal Church on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This will be the first year the event is held in Jefferson County.
“We’ve had it in Arlington in the past because that is where my children work and live,” said Eileen Davis, Blackie Davis’ widow. “This year is the first time that we’ve done it back at home where Blackie was raised.”
Blackie Davis, who worked as a trust officer at Blakeley Bank and owned an upscale apparel store called Town and Country, died in October 2010 following a battle with Myelodysplasia, a type of blood cancer that interferes with the bone marrow’s ability to produce red blood cells.
During the course of his treatment, he required more than 100 bags of blood and platelets.
His treatment involved destroying his existing bone marrow, a key part of the immune system, and then replacing it with donated marrow. Unfortunately, while his immune system was compromised he contracted an infection.
“He came home after about a month and a half – he was in a coma – and died about a week after that,” Eileen Davis said.
Prior to his disease, Blackie Davis was a prolific blood donor with type O blood, which can be given to virtually any patient. “The blood banks would call him,” said Eileen Davis. “For all his giving, he never thought he would need to be a recipient.”
The blood drive will also include information about becoming a bone marrow donor. “It is becoming easier, but it is still hard to find donors,” she said.
Tommy Davis, Blackie Davis’s son, said it is important to keep in mind the human impact of blood donation. “If it had not been for those who donated their time, effort, and most importantly their blood, my family would have never been given the chance to spend those extra years with him, nor those memorable conversations, hugs, smiles and laughs that we shared.”
“I want your blood,” Eileen Davis said. To learn more about blood and bone marrow donation, visit www.my-redcross.org