Community donates blood for Baton Rouge baby in need of transfusions

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - For a little while on Saturday, the lobby of the Team Toyota dealership didn't look like a place to buy your next set of wheels. That change in scenery was all for good reason: a blood drive. The crowd was lined up to make donations that will benefit baby Easton David Roy.

Easton was born on February 13 and is the son of former LSU employee, Chelsey Roy, and her husband, an LSU alum, Josh Roy. His grandmother, Casey Bennett, said he has a rare blood type.

"Only 9 percent of people in the country have his blood," she said.

Easton has a condition called Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborn (PPHN). This life-threatening condition is a failure of the normal circulatory transition that occurs at birth. The condition is characterized by marked pulmonary hypertension, which causes hypoxemia secondary to right-to-left shunting of blood.

His life-threatening condition has already required over 50 blood transfusions. "Easton was born with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborn (PPHN). Basically, what that means is whenever he was born, he failed to make that transition from birth to air to start his own circulatory and oxygenating process for himself," said Bennett.

The newborn requires blood donations less than five days old. Bennett tells us the blood is pumped through a heart/lung bypass machine, known as ECMO, that takes over the function of Easton's lungs and heart, allowing him to rest and get stronger. Easton is at the Children's Hospital in New Orleans.

"He has been through quite a journey so far, but he's really progressing well on a positive track and we're very encouraged," she said.

Family members said almost 300 people have donated through the blood drives, helping far more patients than just Easton.

Suzy Potter with The Blood Center said a stable blood supply of all blood types is critical. "We would like to think that when you're giving blood, it's the ultimate, ultimate altruistic act. You can't buy blood; you can't make blood. Besides being healthy, at the end of the day, we always try to do one thing every day that's a good thing. When you go home at the end of the day, you have been somebody's hero and money can't buy that," said Potter.

The transfusions for Easton must be CMV negative, which cannot be determined until the blood is tested in a lab after donation. CMV-Cytomegalovirus is an infection in adults spread by person-to-person contact and usually causes temporary flu-like symptoms. In people with immune deficiencies, CMV can cause pneumonia, heart inflammation, brain infection, and kidney failure, resulting in death. To determine compatibility with Easton, you must donate at The Blood Center.

The Blood Center said they received a total of 57 donations during the drive.

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