Over the past three weeks, the Blood Center has been forced to cancel dozens of blood drives (68, and counting) leading to a loss of more than 2200 donations due to record cold tempatures, snow, and ice.
If you are able to safely travel to donate blood this week, please do. To find a donation location near you, call (800) 747-5401, visit www.bloodcenterimpact.org, or use the Blood Center’s IMPACT mobile app.
With another winter storm on the way to portions of our service region, we will continue to provide information on the impact of winter weather at www.bloodcenter.org/weather.
Alex was 6 years old when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2009. Alex was your typical boy; he loved his friends, riding his bike, playing all sports, fishing and, most of all, teasing his sisters. He began chemotherapy to get into remission with the plan that he would then continue treatment for 3 years. During this time he was able to continue going to school and to play baseball and basketball, which he loved. Unfortunately, three months before he was set to finish treatment, we were told he had relapsed and would need a bone marrow transplant. Both of his sisters were tested and it was determined that his oldest sister was his perfect match. He went through intensive chemotherapy and total body radiation to get ready for the procedure and on September 6, 2012 he had his transplant. Things were continuing to move forward; he was recovering and getting stronger, and he was even able to have his port removed, but then we were once again told that he had relapsed. This time he would need a stem cell transplant and they wanted to try to find an unrelated donor, but Alex didn’t have a perfect match on the National Registry so, once again, his sister would be his donor. His road to transplant this time wasn’t as easy. He was able to go into remission, but the effects the chemotherapy had on his body caused him to develop the BK Virus, which kept him in the hospital for 94 days. During this time his body became very weak, he had 2 trips to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), he was put on dialysis, he had surgery to place a catheter and a super pubic tube to give him constant irrigation, and he went through hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Alex fought through the virus and came home to get stronger for transplant and on October 16, 2013 he received his sister’s stem cells. It is also important to realize that kids with cancer need donated blood and bone marrow. It is a very important part of treatment, and Alex received both blood and platelet transfusions throughout his treatment.