“You have kids, and your whole life changes. Suddenly, your priority is raising them well,” says Lori Williams. Little did she know that shortly after his 2nd birthday, her son Thomas would be diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. You feel so powerless and scared,” she says.
To combat his cancer, Thomas was put on a trial drug that combined two of the most powerful forms of chemotherapy, which allowed for an extended-release time. “This was kind of extreme; he would have no immune system whatsoever after chemo,” Lori says. To keep his body strong before and after chemotherapy, Thomas received no fewer than 18 blood transfusions. “It really made a difference for his care,” Lori says. “After his transfusions, he was like a different kid. He lit up, his color was back—it made such a huge difference.”
Thomas took cancer in stride and is thriving today. “It was harder for us than it was on him. Emotionally, he was at a stage where whatever situation he was in, he accepted it,” Lori says. “Despite having to be hooked up to an IV, getting treatments and taking meds, he was so active and so happy every day. He inspires me.”
Now, Lori encourages others to donate blood and help save the lives of children like Thomas. “It really does save lives. I didn’t know until Thomas was in treatment that pretty much every child that goes through cancer treatment gets blood products,” she says. “I always ask people, ‘If you could save my son’s life by giving blood, would you do it?’ And they always say yes.”
People need people, make a difference in someone’s life by donating blood.
We must rely on each other for the gift of blood, and patients in your community rely on the generosity of Versiti’s blood donors to help. Please consider scheduling an appointment to donate. If this is your first time, donating blood is quick, easy and relatively painless. And, it is a great way to give back and help patients in your community.