The need for blood is constant. Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, and over 41,000 donations are required each day to meet this need. The very young, from the tiniest of preemies in a hospital’s neonatal unit, to an elderly patient suffering from a blood disorder, all benefit from blood’s life-sustaining qualities.
Naliah suffers from sickle cell disease, a blood disorder characterized by abnormally shaped red blood cells that obstruct the cells’ ability to carry oxygenated blood throughout the body. The cells are sticky and when clumped together can block blood flow leading to “pain crisis”, or painful swelling of the chest, arms and legs. In serious cases, the blocked blood flow can lead to stroke. Therefore, Naliah must receive regular blood transfusions at Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. As the healthy blood begins to circulate, Naliah’s pain crisis decreases, as does her risk of stroke.
Brady has received more than 67 blood transfusions – and he’s not even 2 years old. He suffers from severe Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA), a rare condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys red blood cells leading to insufficient plasma concentration. If left untreated, AIHA can lead to heart failure, liver complications, and death.
Fourteen years ago, Customs and Border Protection officer Dawn Caltagirone was expecting her fourth child. It was a difficult pregnancy, and at 28 weeks she had to be rushed to the hospital with complications. Her baby had separated and she needed an emergency C-section. Dawn suffered so much internal damage during the surgery that she bled out and her doctor lost her blood pressure. Thankfully, further surgery and a transfusion of eight units of blood brought Dawn back.
Meanwhile, Dawn’s newborn daughter Grace was taken to Women and Children’s Hospital. She was three months premature and only weighed 2 lbs, 7 ounces. She was struggling to hold on, too. Grace eventually needed a transfusion of one unit of blood to save her life; Dawn says they were lucky to find a donor with a matching AB- blood type. Dawn’s tiny daughter stayed at the hospital for another four months, and today she is a healthy 14-year-old.