A Grand Falls-Windsor boy is finally getting a bone marrow transplant, thanks to an older brother.
But nine-year-old Sam Gardner and his family are still asking for blood donations this month – not necessarily for him, but for others who need them – and they are hoping to collect 300 units by week’s end.
People can come into the Canadian Blood Services clinic on Lincoln Road in Grand Falls-Windsor, or to another clinic in their area and get pictures taken, with a sign reading they are from Grand Falls-Windsor and they helped a patient like Sam.
“It really brings to mind how important this is, with the transfusions and the platelets, if you didn’t have that, things could be pretty desperate,” said Sam’s great-uncle, Mike Bouzanne, who lives in Conception Bay South, and who has been speaking for the family.
He added Sam seems to be coping with the chemotherapy, and is on the last stages of that now. He said the boy’s transplant would probably be happening on Friday (Aug. 17).
This experience for the family has been overwhelming, not just in terms of health issues, but with regards to the support they’ve been getting, added Bouzanne.
“Sam’s been something else,” he said. “He’s a brave little boy and his brother’s the same way. He’s the donor. It’s going to be a bit of time before he gets back to normal.”
His ordeal began when his mother, Kellie Gardner, noticed dark bruises on his legs and arms, and blood work revealed he had a platelet count of seven, in contrast to the normal range of 150-450.
The diagnosis was Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia (ITP), but Sam was later diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a blood disorder. It means Sam’s bone marrow was not producing enough new blood cells.
From Aug. 17-24, Canadian Blood Services has planned a province-wide “In Honour of Sam” blood donor clinic, in which all donations from all clinics will be made in honour of Sam and his family.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/NLBlood.
*Editors Note: Sam has received his bone marrow transplant from his brother, John. Both are recovering in Toronto. Check back to www.gfwadvertiser.ca for more updates on Sam and his journey.