Sunday, August 17, 2008

Blogging for Blood Cancer, Part II

Continued from Part I....

When my daughter was admitted to the hospital, they already suspected leukemia. At the time, we didn't know what form of leukemia, but they believed she had a blood cancer. We were admitted immediately to the Pediatric ICU with an appointment the following morning with the doctor to visit us. Before he arrived, a nurse told me that Allie needed blood. Her hands and feet were shutting down, and she was severely anemic. In the nurse's opinion, time was critical, and she needed a blood transfusion within the hour or we would lose her. The doctor had yet to see her.

Before even being diagnosed, we had the possibility of losing her. When blood is in short supply, it can take hours for a blood transfusion to happen. We didn't have hours. Thank goodness that there was an ample supply of blood that day. She was given a fighting chance to live that day because someone donated their blood.

The first time I saw blood go into my child, I was fairly freaked out. It scared the hell out of me. Someone else's blood was going into my baby. But the 80th time? No big deal. As leukemia is a blood cancer, it attacks the blood cells. Patients are often anemic as the rogue white blood cells (the blasts, cancer cells) kill the other good healthy cells. Red cells and platelets were pushed out.

During her five month treatment, Allie had more than 85 blood transfusions. There were times when she had them every other day. Every time she had a transfusion, I was grateful to the donor. Grateful that they rolled up their sleeve and donated to help another.

With this Blogging for Blood Cancer event, I wanted to highlight another way for someone to make a difference. There are fundraising opportunities through LLS, ways to make donations in honor/memory of someone, and ways to train to be involved as Frances is doing. I encourage you to see if one of these options are good for you. But, please consider blood donation as well. I realize that not all can do it. I can't. I blow veins every time I try. And it's disappointing. I so desperately wnat to be able to give blood. I would love to help another family the way mine was helped. So, I choose blood advocacy as a way to make a difference. I've been a speaker for Carter BloodCare to advocate blood donation.

I sincerely hope that I will never have to watch blood go into my sweet Maggie, but if there was a need, I hope the necessary blood to possibly save her life will be available to her.


Maureen McCarthy said...

Our high school has a blood donation day every year, and I tried to get everyone I possibly could do donate, and the entire time I thought of your sweet Allie. Because of Allie's story I convinced 3 people to donate blood that first flat out refused because they were terrified of needles, but hearing of Allie won them over!

I think at Plano East almost 1,000 people donated!

Jen said...

I just wanted you to know that Allie's story was one of the first stories of someone fighting cancer that hit me on a personal level. I cannot count the number of times I would read your updates, cry and pray.

I am also training/fundraising for the Nike Women's Marathon. It's an honor to be involved with such a worthy cause.

There are actually a group of seven of us from college who are all training and fundraising for this race. When we reach our goals, we will have raised over $27,000 for the LLS.

I think it's amazing what Frances is doing in memory of Allie!

Wendy Martin Photography said...

Hi there- been following Allie's story from the beginning, and will be proudly doing the Detroit 1/2 marathon with Team in Training in October, I also have donated blood (not my favorite thing to do!) but I do it! Thanks for all you do, Jenny!