Local Family Pleads For Platelet Donations For Daughter
Posted March 5, 2003 8:56 a.m. EST
DURHAM, N.C. — The blood shortage may not always seem critical, but for one local girl, getting enough blood is a daily battle.
Sherilyn Adams is 11 years old and in the sixth grade at West Millbrook Middle School. She was recently diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia.
"I usually don't feel very bad. Sometimes I get a headache but that's about it," she said.
Chemotherapy fights Adams' leukemia, but also kills healthy blood cells. She needs a blood transfusion every four or five days and needs platelets, a component of blood that helps it to clot, even more often.
"She gets platelets every other day," said Adams' mother, Laura.
Doctors say the blood supply in our area is low and people like Adams have trouble getting the transfusions they need.
One day, Adams could only get half the amount of platelets she needed.
"It's very scary. I mean I got so upset when I found out her count was so low and they didn't have enough to give her," said Laura Adams.
Now, the Adams family is pleading for donors.
"So that people like me who have cancer can get better because platelets help," said Adams.
Adams' aunt, Coleen Hanson, said she donates as often as she can.
"I'll probably do it every 56 days. As long as they'll let me," said Hanson.
The blood will not go directly to her niece, but Hanson said she hopes it will help someone else.
Adams' needs to eventually have a bone marrow transplant. Doctors said that is her best chance at a cure.
To perform a bone marrow transplant, doctors must have enough blood and platelets.
Studies show 5 percent of eligible blood donors contribute to blood banks.
To donate blood or platelets, stop by any of a number of local American Red Cross locations or hospital blood banks.
Approved donors can give blood every 56 days and it usually takes about an hour.
Platelets can be donated every two weeks. The process takes about two hours.
Adams' blood type is O positive, which means she can accept blood donations from O positive or O negative donors.
Platelets are not type specific and they can be accepted from any blood type.