Published by Kirby Winn on Friday, January 24, 2020 in News Releases
(Jan. 27, 2020 | Virden, Ill.) – This past holiday season marked the first time that four-year-old Liam Ireland, of Virden, was able to spend time at home and not in a hospital. That’s a credit to Liam’s care team at HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital, Pediatric Day Hospital, his family, and because of donors who’ve provided the raw materials – blood plasma – used in the production of lifesaving medicine.
Staff at North Mac Elementary School, where Liam attends preschool, have seen firsthand the recent positive changes in his health, and they are hosting a blood drive in his honor on Wednesday, Feb. 12 from 1:30 to 6 p.m. at the North Mac Elementary School gymnasium. To schedule an appointment, please contact Becky Hampton at (217) 965-5424. All presenting donors will receive a voucher to redeem for a limited-edition St. Patrick’s Day themed T-shirt.
Liam (pictured, right) was first admitted to the hospital at just five months old on Dec. 26, 2015, after his mother, Jaime Ireland, noticed changes in her son. “My mother’s instincts told me something wasn’t right,” Jaime said. During that hospital stay, Liam became septic within eight hours and was diagnosed with an immunoglobulin (Ig) deficiency.
An Ig deficiency suppresses the body’s immune system, causing a person to be especially susceptible to illness and infections, as well as becoming constantly lethargic. For the past four years, Liam has been in and out of the hospital, battling the effects of this condition.
After an emergency room visit in October 2019, Liam received his first infusion of immunoglobulin, a medicine derived from blood plasma. Within just a few hours, his condition drastically changed for the better. Gone was his lethargy, and he had the energy of a typical four-year-old. Liam started Pre-K this year, and upon returning to school after missing just one day, his classmates and teachers noticed the usual dark circles under his eyes were already gone.
Immunoglobulin is manufactured in laboratories, using plasma provided by blood donors. Whole blood and plasma donations made with Central Illinois Community Blood Center are used in hospitals as transfusable blood components, but any plasma not needed as a transfusable component is provided to plasma fractionators for use in producing medicines used to treat Ig deficiency. Approximately 80% of plasma derived from CICBC’s whole blood donations is sent to fractionators who manufacture these lifesaving medications.
“New donors are needed every day to contribute to these lifesaving therapies, to help patients like Liam who will receive them monthly,” said Libby Bair, Donor Relations Consultant. “We’re so pleased to work with Liam’s family to spread awareness of how people can help.”
Blood donation is a safe, simple procedure that in total takes about 45 minutes to one hour. Potential donors must be at least 17 years of age (16 with parental permission form available through www.bloodcenter.org) and weigh more than 110 pounds. A photo I.D. is required to donate.
About Central Illinois Community Blood Center
Central Illinois Community Blood Center, a not-for-profit organization, is the provider of life-saving blood for 14 hospitals throughout central Illinois, including Memorial Medical Center and HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. A division of Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center (MVRBC), Central Illinois Community Blood Center and MVRBC collect more than 180,000 units of blood annually and serve more than 100 hospitals in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.
The 501(c)(3) not-for-profit blood center was established in 1974 and operates as Central Illinois Community Blood Center (Springfield, Illinois) and Community Blood Services of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois). The Blood Center’s service region extends from southwestern Wisconsin to St. Louis, Missouri and from Danville, Illinois to Chariton, Iowa, an area with a population of more than 4-million residents.
For more information, see www.bloodcenter.org and visit the Blood Center’s social media channels: http://www.facebook.com/CICBC, www.twitter.com/willyougive, www.youtube.com/MVRBC, and www.instagram.com/willyougive/.