The public is invited to participate in a blood drive sponsored by the Oklahoma Blood Institute and Gordon Cooper Technology Center Health Careers classes at the Gordon Cooper main campus 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 5.

Participants have the opportunity to donate blood in honor of either Opal Trimble or Ava Wood. Opal is the 5-month-old daughter of Josh and Gretchen Trimble of Shawnee who is battling a rare neurological illness called acute flaccid myelitis. Ava Wood, 9, of Oklahoma City is battling severe aplastic anemia, a bone marrow failure disease, said Jennie Hentges of OBI.

Donating blood in the name of one of these children accumulates credits that help offset their blood bank costs that are not covered by insurance. Donors should specify the name of the child they want to receive the donation credit. The donor does not have to have the same blood type as the child for the donation to be credited, Hentges said.

Those who can’t donate blood can still help. Gordon Cooper Technology Center Pre-Engineering Academy students involved in FIRST Robotics are collecting Lego kits for the young patients at Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City. A donation box will be available in the blood drive screening area.

During the past four years, GCTC robotics teams have collected and donated more than 1,700 Lego toy kits to nine hospitals in five states. GCTC robotics mentors recently heard from the Wood family that Ava enjoyed some hours “just being a kid” playing with Legos during her hospitalization.