Leah Ciolek looks like many other five-year-old girls, with her rosy little cheeks, bob of dark brown hair, and winning smile. But there's one important difference--Leah has been diagnosed with histiocytosis, a rare cell disease that is attacking her skin, liver, and bone marrow. Within the first six months of her illness, Leah needed 60 pints of red blood cells and platelets, and she continues to require regular blood transfusions in order to survive. Each day, Leah's parents long to thank the blood donors whose generosity has been nothing less than a gift from God--quite literally, they have saved their daughter's life.
Someone in the world needs blood every three seconds
Even regular medical procedures require more blood than the average person might suppose
Auto accident: 50 units of blood
Bone marrow transplant: 20 units of blood, 120 units of plasma
Organ transplant: 40 units of blood, 30 units of platelets, 25 units of plasma
Shortage is particularly severe during the summer and major holidays
One of the largest blood donation surges in American history
Temporary halt to blood shortage, but blood donation rate has already returned to pre-9/11 levels
Short shelf life: 42 days unless frozen
What's the Solution?
Many who can donate blood choose not to do so
60% of American adult population eligible to donate blood--only 5% of those do so regularly
Dr. Celso Bianco, executive vice president of America's Blood Centers: "Our challenge is to take this goodwill and transform those individuals into regular blood donors, so that they sustain the blood supply."
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