There’s a one in a billion chance to have two kids with genetically unrelated cancers, but it happened to our family. Without blood transfusions, my sons wouldn’t have survived.
William thrived during his first year, but then he suddenly lost weight, regressed, and became ill. Everyone thought his symptoms were due to his Down syndrome, but just before his second birthday he was diagnosed with leukemia. He had a very hard journey and needed constant blood transfusions during his many chemotherapy sessions. It was every parent’s worst nightmare, but he was finally declared in remission.
About a year later, my other son developed a malignant brain tumor
It’s a one in a billion chance to have two kids with genetically unrelated cancers, but it happened. My older son, Jonathan, started having physical symptoms. It turned out he had a bleeding malignant brain tumor. He was flown to the hospital for emergency surgery, and for a while his survival was questionable. He needed a lot of antibiotics and several blood transfusions to stay alive and healthy. After proton radiation and two years of chemotherapy, he is now healthy and thriving.
Give blood, not just casseroles
When Jonathan’s cancer was discovered, I was pregnant, and my husband was on active duty deployment in Iraq. Meals flooded in, and soon our freezer was full of casseroles. Whenever anyone far away asked what else they could do, I said, “Please, go and donate blood.”
Donating blood is a family tradition
For many generations, giving blood has been one of the things my family has done to support our community. The tradition of donating started with my great-grandmother, who donated gallons of blood over many decades. All of the women in my family would go together to donate and then get their hair done afterward. I still donate every six weeks, knowing children like my sons depend on blood donations.