ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — In September of last year, the seemingly healthy Jacquez Welch collapsed on the football field during a game. The 18-year-old never got back up.
His classmates are now rolling up their sleeves and donating blood in his name.
Marcia Nelson, Welch's mother, says their family is overcoming the tragedy one day at a time.
"New normal I would say. But we're still trying to keep it together and do what we have to do," said Nelson.
Her son's schoolmates at Northeast High School have been keeping his memory alive, and today they are building his legacy by passing on the gift of life.
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"They said it's been going great. People have been pulling in. Kids have been coming and packing in there in between periods," said Nelson.
Five Big Red Buses crowed the front entrance to the school on this National Blood Donor Month.
"Man it means a lot to me because when Jacquez first wanted to donate he was scared," said Nelson. "But he knew the cause behind it and did it."
OneBlood tells ABC Action News it collected 80 units of blood all in the name of Jacquez.
"It's just 'wow' to me," she said. "It's an honor that people still recognize him even when he's not here."
Those 80 units of blood are enough to save the lives of at least 240 people.