A blood drive is being held at the Tonawanda Fire Hall Thursday afternoon in honor of Tonawanda High School graduate Jedidiah "Jed" Woomer. Woomer was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that occurs in soft tissue. He passed away in April, 2015 of heart failure following surgery to remove a tumor from his chest.
"I don't want people to forget him," said Carolyn Woomer, Jed's mother. "He was too special to forget."
It's been an emotional journey for Carolyn, who lost her son, Jed, less than two years ago to cancer.
"He had a miraculously successful surgery," said Carolyn. "They told us he had years of life ahead of him and that they got it all, but 46 hours later he passed away from the damage that chemo and radiation had done."
But his memory lies on in the City of Tonawanda, where dozens, including Jed's brother-in-law gathered to donate blood Thursday afternoon. Something Jed used to do before getting diagnosed with cancer.
"I kept thinking he would be in the next chair, giving blood," said Adam Limpert, Jed's brother-in-law. "This is a way for me to get to know more about him, even though he's not here. It's a part of him that's still around that I get to at least be a part of."
But even those who didn't know the 19-year-old feel like they did.
"It's beautiful to be part of a community that is compelled by this love," said Rick Oates Jr., volunteer and chaplain. He didn't know Jed personally. "A lot of us knew Jed while he was living, a lot of us didn't, and yet you wouldn't know the difference."
The family is also raising money for a scholarship in his memory. A scholarship Carolyn hopes will change someone's life, like Jed changed hers.
"He's not here physically, I know he's not here physically but doing things like this, he's still here," said Carolyn. "He makes an impact, he makes a difference."
The community was encouraged to come out to the Tonawanda Fire Hall to donate blood from 2 through 8 p.m.. There will also be several activities, including a basket raffle to raise money for a scholarship in his memory.
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