In June of 2014 Kylie M., a Wheaton college student, cut her knee open in a biking accident and visited the emergency room to have it stitched up. After complaining of pain in her knee, Kylie returned to the emergency room where she later went into septic shock caused by flesh-eating bacteria known as clostridium perfringens. Once the bacteria was identified Kylie underwent 18 surgeries over the next few months she had IV’s, skin grafts, removal of muscle tissues from the infected area, frequent pain and ended up in a drug induced coma from the countless medications she was on. When she awoke from her coma the first thing she proclaimed was, “God is good”. Throughout Kylie’s recovery she learned that healing takes time. She stated that, “it’s never on the schedule you want it to be on, but it’s on God’s schedule, and He has it planned out just the way He wants it to be.” As Kylie underwent all her surgeries and procedures, she received over 10 lifesaving blood transfusions. Charlie, Kylie’s father, mentioned that his greatest insight during Kylie’s recovery was that, “we have to truly wait on God and truly believe He is faithful and that He loves us.” Kylie was finally released from the hospital on August 4th and she is looking forward to finishing her Communications Degree at Wheaton.
Nathan W. was born March 2nd, 2015 at a whopping 10 pounds, 4 ounces to his mom Christina and dad Robert. He was born slightly jaundiced, which if fairly common in newborns. After 3 months of continuous reassurance from Nathans pediatrician that everything was fine, Christina decided to take him for as second option. When Nathan’s labs came back he was referred to a specialist and transported to the hospital. At this time they found out that Nathan’s liver was failing and that he would need a liver transplant to survive. Nathan’s dad said “as parents we were watching our son die before our eyes”. In July Nathan went into acute liver failure and was immediately listed as status 1A on the national pediatric liver transplant list. On August 3rd, 2015 Nathan received a liver along with multiple blood products because his blood was not clotting. “We are so thankful that there was blood available when he needed it”, said his mom Christina. Finally a month and a half after the transplant he was able to go home. “It’s been a long road, but if there’s one thing we know about our baby boy, Nathan… he’s a fighter. Giving blood is a gift, blood saves lives, and blood saved our son’s life”, said Christina and Robert.
Caden, Cooper and Lily
At 24 weeks Jill gave birth to Caden, Cooper, and Lily weighing a mere 1 lb 4 oz, 1lb 5oz, and 1 lb 6oz, respectively. Jill and Michael were told at birth that the boys had only a 30% chance of survival and Lily had between a 50% and 60% chance given their early gestation. When we asked the doctors if there was anything we could do to help them on their difficult journey, they explained to us that we could donate blood because babies born at this stage typically require 2-3 blood transfusions. Micro-preemie babies are unable to produce their own blood for many weeks, and thus they depend on donor blood for survival. We quickly located 2 matches within the family who were willing to donate, but there was concern they would not be able to donate in time for the first transfusion, in which case donor blood was critical for their survival. Thankfully the babies received their transfusions (2 for Caden and 1 each for Lily and Cooper throughout their journey). They grew and developed for many weeks and came home from the NICU at 37 weeks (for the boys) and 40 weeks (for Lily).
My name is Cindy, growing up with 2 brothers who have Sickle Cell Disease we spent many nights in the hospital waiting for units of blood to be delivered to them. As an advocate for Sickle Cell Disease I became a blood donor many years ago because I know the importance of donating. As the care community coordinator for my church I host blood drives to encourage others to give the gift of life. I know that since I have Sickle Cell Trait my blood would not go to my brothers but I know that it will help save many other lives. My brothers were told at birth that they would not live past the age of 13 but thanks to blood donors one lived to be 44 and the other is still living. I would encourage everyone to reach into their hearts and try to give blood.
Throughout my pregnancy with Logan I had no complications. I still had one week left before he was due when my doctor decided to induce me because he was a big boy. That morning was like any other, the nurses started Pitocin but many hours later it all changed. I had to be rushed to the OR for an emergency C-section because Logan’s heart rate was dropping dangerously low. I remember my husband holding him for just a minute before they rushed him off to the nursery. When I went back to my room I was pretty much alone. When the nurse came in I demanded to see my son and the next thing I remember is waking up the next morning. My mom, mother in law and husband told me we are going down to see him. No one would talk to me the entire way there, until we passed the nursery and I said where are we going? They replied to the NICU, Logan had some trouble breathing. As we went in to the NICU the nurse that was taking care of my son came up to me and said he has Pulmonary Hypertension, pneumonia, and anemia. He needs a blood transfusion ASAP. The doctors are giving him 24 hours to live. I started crying and panic set in, my brother called and stated he was on a red eye from Texas to give blood. The nurse ensured us that blood was on the way and that the blood Logan would receive was from donors that donate blood on a regular basis.
As I saw my son for the first time my mom was telling me that in the OR Logan’s status was changing quickly. They took him to the nursery where they were cleaning him and giving him oxygen then they had to intubate him. He had an umbilical vein and Arterial cauterization, IV in his head and tubes down his nose and mouth. It was the one of the scariest things a mom can ever see. A few hours later Logan received 1 transfusion of O neg. blood. Afterwards his color was better but he still had 12 other diagnosis to battle. It was 2.5 weeks later before I was finally able to hold him. Three weeks later I was finally able to take him home. He is now a striving 6 year old with the only developing issue is his speech. I would like to THANK all the donors that donate on a regular basis because without you my son would not be here.
In February of 2015, Andrew was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at only 15 months old. A rare chromosomal abnormality in Andrew’s cancer cells has required him to be treated as a high risk patient. The first 8 months of treatment were very difficult. Andrew spent over 60 days in the hospital dealing with very severe side effects from his treatment. During this time Andrew received over 20 life-saving blood transfusions! Without donated platelets, red blood and plasma, Andrew could not have completed his treatment or returned home to his family. Today, at 2 ½ years old, Andrew is doing well in maintenance treatment. He loves doing puzzles, making people laugh, and playing with his older brother, Jonathan (4). Andrew’s family is overjoyed to have him back home, where he is finally able to be a kid!
The Molitor Family
Our journey started 13 years ago…
We were expecting our fourth child. Blood work came back showing I had an antibody. A rare issue called Isoimmunization. The baby was at risk for becoming anemic in the womb. We didn’t need any intervention during pregnancy. However due to the rapid red cell destruction her bilirubin rose to dangerous levels so our 2 day old baby received an exchange blood transfusion. In 2005 we welcomed child number 5. Within 24 hours he was having an exchange transfusion, he needed another one at 48 hours old.
An exchange transfusion is different than a blood transfusion. It replaces the complete blood volume of the baby with donor blood. This procedure saved our two children’s lives, and all it took was for someone to donate blood one time! Since that time we have been blessed with 5 more children. With monitoring, none have needed an exchange. Our newest blessing needed two blood transfusions, at 4 weeks and is now doing wonderful. Our family is so very grateful to blood donors. We are so proud of our two oldest boys for donating blood.
Employee Summer Blood Drive
This year Heartland Blood Centers participated in a month long employee blood drive in an effort to increase summer collections for those in need. Throughout the month of August employees, their families and closest friends were encouraged to donate blood to reach our goal. The dedication of our employees to our mission was evident during the month of August as they not only gave time during work hours to save lives but also gave of themselves to donate blood!
Jahrel Banks is a 12 year old boy living with Sickle Cell Disease. He receives most of his Medial care at Central DuPage Hospital. He is thankful for the blood donors who have donated on his behalf because when he is in a sickle cell crisis the blood helps him feel better and recover sooner. As a young boy living with Sickle Cell Disease he isn’t able to do all the things that his friends can do. His father said that having a son with Sickle Cell Disease not only affects Jahrel but also affects the whole family. “There are many people who are uneducated about this disease and I have lost jobs in the past because I had to call off many times to take care of my son. My employer was unaware of the severity of this disease that a child is born with. We are thankful for programs such as the Red is Life program that will bring awareness to this disease and provide an avenue for other people to help in the community by donating blood.”