After 3-year-old Amy was diagnosed with leukemia, blood donations have helped her in her fight. Her father Ryan spoke about the value of blood donations, and how they support patients like Amy, at the 2021 Red and White Ball event.
Amy is named after my late aunt Amy who passed away in 2004 of cancer. The irony of this disease in little Amy’s life is not lost on me. I had to experience the tribulations of cancer as a nephew, and now I find myself fully engaged in the daily trials of cancer as a father. Yes, having a child with cancer is as frightening as you may imagine it to be. This uncertainty is compounded when your child has a rare blood type and can only accept that type of blood. The members of the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center have been gracious enough to have me in their facilities throughout this process so we may better understand the situation we are in.
I have seen the cold storage. It’s smaller than I expected.
I’ve seen the supply. It’s less than I imagined.
I have seen the small, pint sized bags of O- blood, of which there were a mere nine bags in total.
It’s exactly as I feared it to be.
That blood is a lifeline for my daughter, cancer patients like her, trauma victims, and members of our communities who are in dire need. There have been multiple occasions throughout Amy’s treatment where she has needed a blood transfusion. Despite the talent and skill of her highly trained oncologists, they were brought to a halt and they literally could not continue her life-saving treatment until her blood quality was strong enough. While waiting for her transfusion, she was lethargic. She didn’t want anything to do with her favorite things. She wouldn’t eat. Her face was all one color: her skin, her lips, even her eyes appeared dull and gray. Within minutes of receiving a blood transfusion, the color to her face returned and so did her energy, playfulness, and most importantly for me, her smile. Donated blood works miracles for her and so many others like her.
There are many within our communities in need of life saving donations. Some may say these people are waiting on blood, but I say these people are waiting on you, your family, friends, co-workers.
They are waiting on their community to give them a chance at continued life through the act of donating blood.
Blood is tremendously unique as a resource in that it is renewable and it can only be received on a volunteer basis. We as individuals decide whether or not there is a blood crisis. The only cost to you is a few minutes of your time that could mean years of life given to another person like Amy. If you have O- blood and you have donated since January of this year, your blood has saved my daughter’s life and words cannot express my gratitude to you for keeping our daughter with us today. You are the reason she is here.
Don’t be like me. I didn’t appreciate the value of blood donation until the consequences were stating me in the face. I have given blood more in the last 10 months than I have in the last 10 years. I don’t have my daughter’s blood type, I just know there are other kids and other people out there who need me to share what I can. These people are loved by their own friends and family who pray for donations and I’m dedicated now to being a part of the solution, but don’t be like me. Don’t wait until disaster strikes your family to be reminded that we all live here together and we may have to rely on the generosity of people we will never meet for the privilege to continue to live. Please give blood. Please give life. Thank you.