In January 2020, Alejandra Tijerina noticed bruises and a rash all over her son Edui. She took him to the hospital just a few days after his sixth birthday, and Edui was diagnosed with leukemia.
The last two years have been difficult for Edui and his family as they battle cancer as well as stay safe during the pandemic. Edui has had to undergo chemotherapy, and he has required more than a dozen blood and platelet transfusions.
One of the hardest parts for him was saying goodbye to his friends halfway through kindergarten so he could stay safe from germs throughout his treatment.
Edui is scheduled to “ring the bell” to be cancer-free in May 2023. But for now, he is going to the hospital once a month for chemotherapy.
Like many 8-year-olds, Edui’s favorite things are anything Minecraft related. He loves his pets, including a cat he calls his daughter, and he loves following his older sister around.
Nurses at the hospital knew Edui as the “happiest patient they had,” Alejandra said.
“Even since the beginning when he got sick and he was not feeling great, he always had a positive outlook on things — he would always find the good things,” she said. “The nurses would tell me that they would fight to take care of him because he was just in a good mood.”
When Edui needs blood, he struggles to stay awake, his skin gets pale, and he gets bruises all over his body. Within hours of a transfusion, Edui gains energy and slowly gets back to his normal self.
Seeing Edui’s need for blood motivated Alejandra to become a regular blood donor and an advocate for donation, especially during blood shortages.
“It shouldn’t take something like this to happen to somebody to realize how important it is to give blood,” Alejandra said. “If I’m healthy, if I can do my part and donate blood, then why not?”