HOUSTON (KPRC) – Around the holidays blood banks start struggling for donations.
Blood and platelet donations are especially important for some cancer patients, who need transfusions almost daily.
One La Porte, Texas mom asks people to take time to donate this season because it’s generous and free. Her son, Parker, has spent more time living in the hospital than at home in the last seven months.
“Parker calls it the doctor’s house,” says Casey Dixon. “So, that’s where we live.”
Luckily for them, Parker has been showing improvement. He gets to go home after his last chemo treatment, and he even rang the ceremonial bell to mark the occasion, but he will return for regular visits to check his blood. If his platelet or red blood cell count is low, he will need a transfusion.
Dixon says before Parker’s diagnosis she didn’t realize how critical blood was to his health and well-being.
“When Parker needs red blood cells, he’s tired, he’s not playing,” Dixon explains. “He’s just lying in a hospital bed and he really looks sick. You know their color changes, their whole demeanor, they won’t eat or drink, then when they give patients the blood it is, it is literally giving them new life.”
MD Anderson Cancer Center blood donor manager Gary Griffin says that when donations go down and they don’t have a regular supply, patients like Parker, who have blood cancers, might not get what they need.
“We’ve ran into times where we’ve had to tell our health care staff ‘We don’t have the products,'” Griffin explains. “We have run out and couldn’t take care of a patient, so what happens is we start prioritizing.”
Children are one of their priorities since Griffin said they may be more sensitive to low blood cell counts.