September 2020 - Katie's mom recently shared this update with us: “Katie is now 9 years old and four years out of treatment for her leukemia, and thriving! Thanks to all of the donors, she is a very active 3rd grader who loves Irish dancing, good music, Jojo Siwa, and her big brother, Ryan. Katie's 2.5 year treatment required her to have dozens of blood and platelet transfusions, and she wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for donors like you. When Katie grows up, she wants to be a nurse and help others like herself!”
“It was the scariest day of our life, we didn’t know what to expect. We were scared of what was going to happen and afraid of losing our daughter,” says Katie’s mom. On December 3, 2013, Katie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
ALL is a type of cancer that starts with the white blood cells in the bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made. ALL is considered acute because the disease can progress rapidly as it creates immature blood cells.
Katie’s battle started with a cough. Her parents took her to the doctor, thinking it was nothing more than a common cold. But her doctor noticed that something was off with Katie’s blood levels. Her blood counts were so low that she needed an immediate blood transfusion.
Katie spent about a month in the hospital where she received both platelet and red blood cell transfusions. She has received about 30 blood transfusions during her battle with ALL and currently receives chemotherapy every month. “I never put into perspective that blood goes towards cancer patients. I never realized cancer patients need blood transfusions too, especially pediatrics,” says Katie’s dad.
Her parents can see how transfusions make a difference in their daughter. When Katie is in need of a transfusion, she’s tired, irritable and bruises easily. As she’s getting the transfusion, the color returns to her face, and her parents can even see the pink coming back to her lips. Afterwards, she’s a lively young girl in a much better mood.
Blood transfusions have allowed Katie to feel better and live a more normal life. “There are no words to say how we feel about donors because Katie wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them,” say Katie’s parents.