LA QUINTA — When Mariah Salomon of Coachella was attacked two years ago by the family dog she suffered life-threatening facial injuries with tremendous blood loss. Over the next several weeks, during intensive treatment at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, Mariah, who weighed a mere 26 pounds, required the equivalent of two 5-gallon water jugs of blood products.

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Mariah Salomon and Veronica Pena (Photo courtesy of LifeStream)

Part of Mariah’s face — from the tip of her nose to the top of her lip, including part of her left cheek — was missing. Thanks to the quick-thinking of Veronica Pena, Mariah’s mother, she located the missing tissue and with the help of Mariah’s grandmother was swiftly transported  to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in a clean state. A team of surgeons’ goal was to re-implant Mariah’s face.

Mariah underwent a delicate, 5-hour surgery and subsequent application of leeches – to her face to assist in blood flow. Her entire blood volume was replaced many times over during her stay in pediatric intensive care.

Pena gives credit blood donors for saving her daughter.

“It was truly unbelievable, the amount of blood that Mariah lost and had to have replaced,”  Pena said. “It was like receiving an entirely new supply of blood each time. Every day, when I look at my daughter, I know how critically important it is to have blood supplies on hand for the community.”

Today, Mariah and her mother are planning Mariah’s fifth birthday party in August. The theme – Tinkerbell.

If you would like to help save a life, the Sixth Annual Nine Cities Challenge Blood Drive continues until July 31. It is critically important to keep the Coachella Valley’s available blood supply at ample levels during the summer months. This year’s theme “If We All Do A Little, We Can Change A Lot” is about community and saving lives like Mariah’s.

This year, LifeStream has announced the new “ExpressPass” feature for donating blood during the Challenge. LifeStream’s “ExpressPass” allows potential donors on the day-of-their-donation to save time in the donation process by completing the required pre-donation reading and health history questions before arriving at the donation site. This new feature makes donating faster and easier than in previous years.

For a tutorial and day-of donation registration, click here.

Below are upcoming locations, dates and times to donate:
LifeStream’s 6th Annual 9 Cities Challenge Blood Drive
• La Quinta: July 14, Wellness Center, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
• Rancho Mirage: July 18, Public Library, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Palm Springs: July 19, Palm Springs High School, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Indian Wells: July 20, Indian Wells Golf Resort, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Indio: July 26, Teen Center, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Desert Hot Springs: July 28, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• La Quinta Donor Center: July 1 to 31, donate on behalf of your city, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

For more information and to set an appointment, please call 800-879-4484 or visit here.

All those who donate at the above locations receive a ticket voucher to Wet ‘n’ Wild Palm Springs, a coupon for four free Jack in the Box tacos, and a red #9CitiesChallenge wristband. In addition, donors are encouraged to take their photo or video on location, displaying the wristband and sharing it on social media – encouraging and challenging family, friends, colleagues, and other companies/organizations to donate to this cause.

All donors are automatically eligible to win a 2017 Harley-Davidson XL883. Winner must be at least 18 years of age. For a complete set of rules, visit here.

If donors are not able to attend on the day the drive is in their city, donors are encouraged to visit the La Quinta Donor Center; simply tell us which city you live or work in and your donation will go toward your city’s challenge total. In addition to the main drives, all drives during July, including all businesses and organizations that organize their own drives will count toward each city’s total. For additional mobile drive opportunities to assist your community during the challenge, contact LifeStream at 800-879-4484or visit: LStream.org.

About LifeStream
LifeStream is the exclusive provider of blood products and services to all Coachella Valley hospitals. For more information, please visit LStream.org.