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Dear Blood Donors: Sharing a Message of Gratitude this Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, many families will partake in a tradition as they gather at the dinner table – to share what they are thankful for. From our American Red Cross family to yours, we would like to share our own message of gratitude to our blood and platelet donors. Without your generosity to roll up a sleeve, our lifesaving work would not be possible. Thank you for your support and commitment for patients in need.

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion. That someone may be an accident and burn victim, heart surgery and organ transplant patient, or someone receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. Thankfully, because of our generous blood donors, a lifesaving donation was available for Jacob Thiboutot when he needed it.

Thanks for a little life saved

In June 2016, Jacob went from an energetic and happy 18-month-old to a lethargic little boy who did not want to leave his mother’s lap and who experienced bouts of major pain.

After several frustrating doctor’s appointments that found nothing, an emergency room doctor detected a large mass believed to be a particularly aggressive form of cancer and Jacob was immediately rushed by ambulance to Maine Medical Center. The next day Jacob went through numerous scans and tests, and a massive cantaloupe-size tumor was found in his abdomen as well as many smaller ones around his chest and spine. There was also a tumor behind his eye which in a matter of a few days had given him the appearance of having a black eye.

A few days later, Jacob was diagnosed with high-risk stage 4 neuroblastoma and received four blood transfusions. After two week-long cycles of chemotherapy drugs; the cancer was no longer in his bone marrow and the main tumor in Jacob’s abdomen had shrunk by 50 percent. Following a sixth cycle of chemo, he had surpassed all expectations for improvement and the family was given the wonderful news that they could take Jacob home the day before Thanksgiving.

The Thiboutots had a few weeks home together before Jacob was scheduled to undergo two bone marrow transplants, each requiring a month’s stay at the hospital. Months later, on May 8, they were informed Jacob’s scans were all clear and he was officially in remission.

Still in remission today, Jacob gets stronger and healthier every day! This Thanksgiving, Jacob’s parents are grateful for every donor who gives blood or platelets – donations that helped save their little boy’s life.

Life’s a gift. Give more of it.

This Thanksgiving, as we kick off the holiday season with shopping, decorating and festivities you may ask yourself — what is the holiday season really about? For many, it’s spending time with family and friends, and making memories that last a lifetime. What if you could give someone more of that? More time with family. More time with friends. More holidays, more birthdays, more anniversaries. Help them dance, laugh, shop, bake, give and receive presents. Help them savor the season.

Life’s a gift. Give more of it. Donate blood or platelets.

This holiday season make an appointment to give a lifesaving gift by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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