WHY YOU SHOULD DONATE: 10-month-old boy relies on regular blood transfusions to live

Updated: Nov. 10, 2020 at 9:23 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Henry is just like any normal 10-month-old boy. He loves to play and goof off, but Henry has a serious condition.

“He was right at 6-weeks-old. He had an Owlet monitor on his foot, which monitors all heart rate and oxygen on babies, and we were taking a bottle. I had sat him up to see where he kind of was with that and the Owlet went off. It sounded like an ambulance siren going off in my house," said his mother, Ashley Soileau.

Henry has aplastic anemia, a condition causing him to have low oxygen levels in his blood, which can cause his heart rate to go up. At his age, he has to get blood transfusions every two to three weeks. For now, it’s the only way to keep his heart pumping. Blood donations are essential for Henry.

“Two transfusions to go. We waited for six hours to get a blood match for him. They had to go outside the city to find it because there wasn’t a match available for him,” said Soileau.

Henry is not the only person surviving like this. Many people struggle with certain types of anemia, and there are other types of patients who require blood transfusions as well. These include cancer patients, people undergoing heart surgeries, and oftentimes, trauma patients as well. These are people who need blood just to stay alive.

“It’s the easiest thing you can do to help someone in your community is lie down, stick out your arm, and save a life,” said Jay Thomas, lab manager at OLOL Blood Donor Services.

“I thank everybody who donates. I tell everybody to donate again in eight weeks. You can donate in eight weeks. And then, if for some reason you can’t donate that mark, go again the next week and see, you know, if you can donate then,” said Soileau.

Simply donating blood can save up to three lives, and it can help children like Henry keep playing. So if you would like to donate blood, visit Audi Baton Rouge off Airline Highway on Wednesday, Nov. 11; there will be an OLOL mobile blood drive unit there from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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