Chicago community honors memory of Jaden Blake with blood drive

People are giving back to the community by giving blood and it's in honor of a young Chicago man who died last year.

"Last year in November I lost my son Jaden. Jaden was an avid blood donor, a student athlete. The love of my life," said Yvonne Blake Brown, CEO of the Jaden Sebastian Blake Foundation.

Blake Brown has turned tragedy into a triumph.

Last year her son Jaden, a graduate of De La Salle High School in Chicago and a pole vaulter at Grand Valley State in Michigan was involved in a catastrophic car crash.

Fighting for his life in the hospital, Jaden needed 60 units of blood.

"People started asking what can we do? How can we help? And we said just go to the blood bank. Give," Blake Brown said.

Jaden did himself many times as part of his community service to Jack and Jill of America, an organization that nurtures future leaders in the African-American community.

On Saturday at their Midwestern convention in Lombard, scores of Jack and Jill members gave a pint in honor of Jaden.

"We wanted to bring African-American mothers and teens into the room to participate in this blood drive with the American Red Cross so we could provide a much-needed resource to members of our community," said Deidre Lindsey, of Jack and Jill of America Inc.

"African-Americans, we have sickle cell. Our blood is special. The matching matters. It just matters," said Blake Brown.

African Americans make up only about 1 percent of blood donors and Jaden's mom says it's her goal to push that number higher.