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Boy, 5, Named Christmas Parade's Grand Marshal

Ryan Heiman, of Sussex, will lead the Waukesha Christmas Parade.

BloodCenter of Wisconsin has named 5-year-old Ryan Heiman of Sussex as the grand marshal for the 2012 Waukesha Christmas Parade.  BloodCenter of Wisconsin is the title sponsor of the 50th annual parade, to be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, in downtown Waukesha.

Shortly after Ryan’s birth, doctors realized that he needed special care. They quickly determined that Ryan needed a blood transfusion. Ryan is now a happy and healthy child, who celebrated his fifth birthday in October – all because generous donors made sure blood was available when he needed it.

“Words truly cannot express how deeply grateful we are that someone had donated the blood that saved our son’s life,” said Jason Heiman, Ryan’s dad.  “Ryan is thrilled to be part of the parade, and it’s our hope that seeing his smiling face on that day will be an inspiration for people to give so other lives can be saved.”

With the winter season approaching, blood donation often decreases because of inclement weather, or as schedules begin to fill up with holiday activities that come along with it. So BloodCenter encourages donors to take time this season and make a profound difference in someone’s life.  Your generous blood donation can help patients of all ages who are dealing with serious injuries, facing surgery and fighting cancer.

Anyone 17 or older who is in general good health and meets eligibility requirements is encouraged to donate blood. Parental consent is required for 16-year-olds to donate. The entire process takes about an hour. Donors should bring a photo ID that includes birth date.

Editor's Note: The above information was provided to Patch via a news release from the BloodCenter of Wisconsin.

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