HOUSTON – MD Anderson Cancer Center needs blood donors.
Donations always decline this time of year as people celebrate the holidays.
However, the need for blood plasma and platelets never goes away for hundreds of cancer patients.
Geovany Albelice seems to be a typically exuberant 2-year-old, but the little boy currently has cancer.
His mother remembers the night she learned he has leukemia.
“He needed blood. He needed platelets. He was weak. He could barely move by the time we got to the hospital,” said his mother, Fereshta Albelice.
Geovany’s prognosis is good, but he’ll need regular transfusions for years. He’s just one of many.
“There's a lot of kids at MD Anderson that need blood just to have a good day or get through the week, be able to eat and function,” said his father, Daniel Albelice, “If we did run into the problem where he couldn’t get blood for any reason, I don’t know what to do at that point.”
To emphasize the importance, M.D. Anderson Hospital’s President, Dr. Peter Pisters stopped by the blood bank to make a donation Thursday afternoon.
“The disease itself causes loss of blood, and that creates the situation where we have to be able to give patients blood back and we have to do that through donors,” Pisters said.
He was joined in the donation room by Ellen Moore, a regular donor who was recruited by the blood bank to help shore up the supply of blood.
"I got a call yesterday and they asked me if I could come this week and donate a pint of platelets and so I said I would be here today," Moore said.
This time of year, there aren’t enough people like her. Blood supplies often run critically low.
“And so what happens is we start now having to prioritize who we give that blood to, and some patients will be at the end of the line,” said Gary Griffin, manager of blood donor operations.
The MD Anderson Blood Bank is appealing for donors to step up during the holidays. It’ll be the best gift you give this Christmas.
“If we did run into the problem where he couldn’t get blood for any reason, I don’t know what to do at that point,” Daniel Albelice said.
If you can help, please call 713-792-7777 and make an appointment.
If you can donate platelets, the blood bank has a great new bit of swag to give away: an official MD Anderson hoodie.