This week brings an opportunity to honor a fallen hero and make a difference in someone's life.

It's all in memory of U.S. Marine Jacob Hess, who was killed in the Helmand province of Afghanistan in January while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Family and friends say as a tribute to Jacob’s giving nature and heroism, they're organizing donor drives across the country:

On his 18th birthday, [Hess] began donating platelets and joined the Be The Match ® Marrow Registry. Soon thereafter, Jacob received the call that he was the perfect marrow match for a patient in need. He became the lifesaving donor to leukemia patient Crystal Osha of Orlando, FL.

On January 1, 2014, Jacob was killed while serving in the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan.

Fellow Marine families from the Rockford area are helping to organize the event locally. It takes place this Friday, April 4. You're encouraged to donate blood, join the marrow registry and sign up to be an organ/tissue donor at the Rock River Valley Blood Center’s Perryville Donor Center, 3065 N. Perryville Road from 7am-1pm.

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Each donor on Friday will receive a postcard marking their commitment to donation that will be mailed to Jacob’s family.

For more information you can call 877-RRVBC-99 or find RRVBC on the web.