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Gift of life evident as RCS student shines in media spotlight


New administrators
To see Benita Zahn's interview with RCS sophomore Regina McGuire, tune in to NewsChannel 13 on Thursday, September 26. It is expected to air during the 5 p.m. newscast.

(9/13/13) When NewsChannel 13's Benita Zahn showed up at the door of Mr. Dorrance's Algebra II/Trigonometry class at RCS Senior High School asking to see student Regina McGuire, some of her classmates thought the anchor and reporter must be there to interview the 15-year-old about her interest in the performing arts. What most of them didn't know was that Zahn, the station's chief health reporter, had come to the school to profile McGuire as someone who relies on donated blood to live.


McGuire, a sophomore who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia at age six, receives regular transfusions of donated blood as treatment for the disease that affects the bone marrow.


"I interviewed Regina and her dad several years ago about her condition and the critical role of donated blood in her treatment," said Benita Zahn. "I'm here to follow up on her story and see how she's doing."


Regina sat for the interview in the music wing of the school, where she spends a lot of time, and told the reporter a little bit about her treatment and a lot about her interests in music, the performing arts, and her desire to go to college in Manhattan.


"The only thing I can't do is play sports," said McGuire, who plays violin with the Empire State Youth Orchestra's string ensemble, sings and performs in theater. "And that's too bad because I would love to play sports. But other than that, I can do just about anything."


Asked by Zahn what she would tell people about how important it is to give blood, McGuire said with a giant, reflective teenage smile: "If people did not donate blood, I wouldn't be here."


Regina's father, Mike McGuire, was a little more emotional when he recounted for Zahn how the family began noticing at age six that Regina was extremely pale and had unusual bruises on her legs. Blood tests confirmed it was aplastic anemia.


"When we got the call from the pediatrician, you could tell he was nervous," said Mr. McGuire. "He had us at Albany Medical Center right away for more tests that confirmed the diagnosis.


The elder McGuire summed up why his daughter was willing to to bring attention to her condition now by saying: "When people give blood, they see it go into a pouch and that's it, they're done.


"To get a chance to see where that blood goes and who benefits, we think, can only help increase the number of people who give blood.


"We're all busy," Mr. McGuire told reporter Zahn, "but when you think just 30 minutes of your time can truly save someone's life, I think it open's people's eyes."


To see Benita Zahn's interview with the McGuires, tune in to NewsChannel 13 on Thursday, September 26. It is expected to air during the 5 p.m. newscast.


Visit the American Red Cross to learn about donating blood>>