Dwight of Claymont, Delaware, began donating platelets in 1995 to continue a family tradition, unaware of how his family’s involvement would come full circle.
“My dad had always been a platelet donor, so it felt natural to me,” he explained. “I did it because I felt I was helping people; I always like to help.”
At 15 months old, his daughter Paige was diagnosed with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). According to the Mayo Clinic (2014), “ASD is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of your heart (atria). The condition is present from birth (congenital). Small atrial septal defects may close on their own during infancy or early childhood.” After living with ASD for nine months, physicians determined the best treatment for Paige would be to surgically close the hole.
In advance to Paige’s open heart surgery, family members with her blood type were able to donate fresh whole blood to be used during surgery. While several family members tried to donate, Dwight and his aunt were both successfully able to donate blood for Paige two days before surgery.
Paige is now six years old and in kindergarten. “She’s perfect now. Unless you saw her scar, you would never know what she had been through,” Dwight remarked.
In order to donate fresh whole blood for Paige’s surgery, Dwight needed to interrupt his usual platelet donation schedule. He is now working towards his usual twice a month platelet donation schedule. He credits the early Saturday morning donation hours at the Christiana Donor Center for allowing him time to donate and return home early enough to enjoy time with his family, which now also includes his three year old son.
On January 16, 2015, Dwight donated his 16th gallon of platelets at the Blood Bank of Delmarva.