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Charlotte, North Carolina

NOTE: During Dalissia’s very first platelet donation at our Charlotte Donation Center, she graciously shared the experiences that lead her to the donor chair. Below is the Charlotte mother’s first-hand account of why she became a lifesaving platelet donor:

At 28 weeks pregnant, I noticed several small bruises on my arms and legs, along with little red dots on the bottom of my legs. They worsened overnight, and I even had a nosebleed! I had a gut feeling something was seriously wrong. I am in the medical field, so I knew of some signs to look out for.


I called my doctor and asked if I could get blood work drawn. Thankfully, she was able to get me right in. She called me the next morning and gave me the news I was dreading: My platelets (little cells that help clot your blood) were dangerously low! I was immediately scared.

My doctor started me on some oral steroids and had me see hematology (blood doctors) that very same day. She was able to draw some more labs. So far, I had been responding to steroids and my platelets were increasing. Great news! She had me return the following morning for more labs. I still had a bad feeling something was wrong.

My worst nightmare came true. My blood work was rapidly declining and she wanted me to be admitted to the hospital. She diagnosed me with HELLP Syndrome. It’s a rare and severe form of pre-eclampsia. At the time I was admitted, I was only 29 weeks pregnant. I knew I was going to have this baby very soon!

Despite medical treatment, I continued to decline. Twelve hours after being admitted, at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, my OB/GYN came in my room and told me I need to have this baby immediately, and I would be scheduled for an emergency C-section! This was because my platelets continued to decline and my blood pressure was rapidly elevating, and unfortunately, the only cure for HELLP Syndrome is the delivery of the baby.  Multiple units of platelets were ordered so I could have them before surgery, during surgery, and after if I needed them.

I said my goodbyes to my family and was wheeled into the operating room. I had to be put to sleep with general anesthesia for the delivery of my baby girl because my platelets were too low (you cannot have a spinal epidural unless your platelets are over 100K and mine were 16K). Therefore, my husband, Nick, wasn’t even allowed to be in the room.

At 29 weeks and one day, our baby girl, Avayah Mae Grothe, was born into this beautiful world weighing a whopping 2lbs, 11oz, and measuring in at 15 inches long. She was immediately intubated (breathing tube) and taken to the NICU in stable condition. I was finally able to see her and hold her 36 hours after she was born.

Even though it was a terrifying experience, it all happened as it was supposed to. I know receiving those platelets during the birth of my baby helped save my life. For that, I am FOREVER grateful! I am so thankful to those who donated, as they saved my life. So I was so happy – overwhelmed emotionally actually – to donate my platelets and maybe help save another life!

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