Ridgefield teen fighting cancer inspires blood donations

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 8:14 PM PST
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RIDGEFIELD, Wash. (KPTV) - A Ridgefield teenager fighting cancer is inspiring people to donate blood, as supplies in blood banks continue to be critically low in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation.

Joshua Bell, 16, has a rare form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma, and relies on regular blood donations as part of his treatment and recovery.

The City of Ridgefield has even declared March to be ‘Blood Donors Month’ in honor of Joshua.

“It’s really cool to see people encouraging others to donate,” said Joshua during a recent interview with Fox 12.

The Ridgefield teen loves to create beats and music, as well as films that he makes with his brother.

Like many teenagers and kids, he likes to share his work on YouTube.

These days, he doesn’t often have the energy for his creative outlet, let alone access to his equipment.

Joshua has spent more than 75 nights in the hospital since his diagnosis in September.

He first started noticing hip pain that wouldn’t go away in June.

The battle is exhausting and miserable.

“There’s definitely lows and highs, but I have thousands of people praying for me, so that makes a big impact,” Joshua said. “I felt supported at every step of the way. It’s tough but there’s nothing you can do about it so I just have to take it as it comes.”

The same goes for round after round of chemotherapy that’s keeping him alive but making him sick.

“That affects me for quite a while and that’s when I really feel at a low point, I’m really tired and my blood counts are really low,” Joshua said.

And that’s where blood transfusions come in – they are critical to his recovery and health.

“I’ll go from feeling terrible one day and then I get some blood and the next day it’s pretty incredible actually, how much better it makes me feel,” Joshua said.

Fortunately, so far, Joshua hasn’t had any trouble getting the blood he needs, but supplies remain dangerously low.

Bloodworks Northwest is hosting a blood drive in Joshua’s name for the month of March.

Friends, family, classmates, and community members have donated their blood to help.

Where that blood will go, nobody will ever know, as blood can not be dedicated or reserved for one particular individual.

Still, Joshua and his parents know the impact it has made on his life.

“We are so grateful that he’s able to be sustained with these blood transfusions, it literally wants to make you go okay, how am I going to pay that forward in the future,” said Joshua’s father, Mark Bell.

He hopes others will consider making a blood donation.

“As a family that literally, is experiencing that right now, you can make a big difference in one day,” Bell said.

Bloodworks Northwest said 44 people so far have donated blood in Joshua’s name.

If you’d like to learn more about donating or schedule a blood donation appointment, you can find more information here: https://www.bloodworksnw.org/