Three years ago a young man from Kansas was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor and was not expected to live. Thanks to his doctors and multiple transfusions of blood, platelets and plasma, Doug Frye plans on graduating from college in the spring of 2013.
Frye, now 23, was found to have an ependymoma, which is a rare type of brain tumor that starts in the central nervous system. During a period of 10 weeks, from May through August of 2010, he underwent eight surgeries to remove the tumor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He also needed multiple transfusions to help him recover.
“After each surgery, Doug had uncontrollable bleeding,” said Jacque Berkley, Frye’s mother, who also happens to be a physical therapist. “Doctors gave him whole blood, platelets and plasma to keep him alive. Doug would not be here today if not for the blood people had donated.”
Following the surgeries, Frye spent his time learning how to walk, speak and do many other things most of us take for granted each day. Today, he still is deaf in his left ear and has partial paralysis on his left side.
In early August 2010, Frye’s family was finally able to bring him home to continue his therapy in Salina, Kansas. He was able to go to work with his mother to receive physical therapy. They also brought in occupational therapists and speech therapists to help speed his recovery.Doug Frye and his mom, Jacque Berkley, supported blood drives in Kansas to help raise awareness of the need for blood.
“At first, we were fearful for Doug’s life, health and future,” said Berkley. “Now, we are absolutely thrilled that Doug is alive and doing well.”
Last June, Frye and Berkley traveled to the Mayo Clinic for what was supposed to be a simple checkup. But doctors saw unusual cells on a scan and ordered more treatments. Frye spent another seven weeks at the clinic undergoing daily radiation treatments. “This was supposed to slow him down, but Doug worked hard to stay strong,” added Berkley
A month after returning home to Salina, Frye headed back to Manhattan, and enrolled in four more classes at K-State. He’s now in his senior year and looks forward to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business.
The Red Cross provides blood products to nearly 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. Accident victims, as well as patients with cancer, sickle cell disease, blood disorders and other illnesses receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.
Eligible blood donors are asked to please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive and make an appointment. To give blood, individuals must be 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and be in generally good health. Those giving blood are asked to bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when they come to donate.