Often, people believe that blood donations are used to help those who have experienced a severe injury or have a medical condition resulting in the need for surgery; however, this is not always the case. Many people require routine blood transfusions in order to live. Ashlynn is a young girl in the Delmarva region who proves that blood is not solely used for emergency situations and surgical procedures.
On July 3, 2015, Ashlynn celebrated her 7th birthday and her 124th blood transfusion. Ashlynn received her first blood transfusion when she was only 12 hours old after experiencing respiratory distress and congestive heart failure.
She was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA) when she was two months old. DBA is a rare blood disorder. According to the National Library of Medicine (2012), “In Diamond Blackfan anemia, the bone marrow malfunctions and fails to make enough red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the body’s tissues”. Due to the lack of red blood cells, Ashlynn requires blood transfusions every few weeks.
With appropriate medical treatment and supervision, individuals diagnosed with DBA can live long and healthy lives. Blood transfusion therapy is one of the two most common forms of treatment for DBA (Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation, 2012). “She’s been alive for 7 years because of people who donate blood. We’re thankful for them every day,” says her mother, Patricia.
Ashlynn is a brave little girl who does not realize how unique her life is in comparison to other children her age. “She’s gone through all of this in her life and it’s just normal for her,” according to Patricia. “It makes me proud because she doesn’t cry, but then it makes me sad that she doesn’t cry because she doesn’t know any different.”
One of the most common reasons people do not donate blood is a lack of awareness about the need for blood donations. “I never honestly thought about donating because I had never been put in the position where I knew anyone who actually needed blood to live. Ashlynn needs blood to live. She’s alive because of people who go out there and donate their blood,” says Patricia.