I had never been interested in donating blood. I'd heard about it here and there throughout my entire life, but it just wasn't for me. Between 2 separate rounds of allergy shots, trying to get pregnant, and then having 2 children, I'd been poked and prodded enough. I mean, no one enjoys getting stuck with needles...why would I voluntarily sign up to do so?
Well, in July last year, I got my answer. My then 4-year-old daughter Olivia had been acting noticeably more tired and crabby than usual. We'd also noticed a few new spots on her body that we thought were new freckles. A few days passed, and the few brownish spots had changed to a reddish/purple rash all over her belly. Almost immediately, our pediatrician sent us to the emergency room. After several hours of testing, we heard the words every parent is terrified of hearing… "Your child has cancer."
Upon this diagnosis, we were admitted to Nationwide Children's Hospital, and would stay there for the next few weeks. We learned that Olivia's hemoglobin and platelets were very low, while her white blood cells were incredibly high. She would need several blood and platelet transfusions over the course of her treatment. However, there was such an extreme shortage of platelets at that time, and frequently, we could not even get them. The hospital was literally rationing them out to patients who needed them the most.
It was then that I'd signed up to donate.
I had a body full of the things she needed, why would I keep them from my daughter? And why would I keep it from anyone else for that matter? I'd seen firsthand just how quickly life can change. I had just watched my 4-year-old old have surgery, get a port placed, get accessed, and start chemotherapy. A needle felt like the least I could do.