January is National Blood Donor Month, but at CHOC, we appreciate our blood donors all year round.
When a volunteer chooses to donate their blood directly to CHOC, they are making a direct impact on a CHOC patient who desperately needs it. Blood transfusions are vital and lifesaving for kids and teens fighting cancer, premature babies receiving care in the NICU, trauma patients in the emergency department and for surgeries and other medical procedures.
With the support of our community, CHOC is able to supply 50% of our patient’s needs for blood transfusions, but we are always hoping to increase our blood and platelet supply.
Blood donations make a lifesaving difference for kids in cancer treatment
Joshua, a 10-year-old with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), does a little dance every time he sees that a pint of blood that was donated just for him. Like many other patients at CHOC, Joshua relies on blood transfusions during treatment.
During his treatment journey, Joshua has relapsed twice, which can be unfortunately common for patients with ALL. He is now receiving Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy – an innovative immunotherapy treatment for patients with relapsed ALL – from Dr. Van Huynh, oncologist and director of CAR T-cell/Immunotherapy Program at CHOC.
‘Doing a little dance’ in celebration of blood donation heroes
When Joshua was first diagnosed, his blood supply was so low that he needed emergency blood transfusions to keep him alive. Since then, there have been times when Joshua needed up to three blood and platelet transfusions per week to help increase his blood supply. Additional transfusions have also helped Joshua feel better when dealing with difficult chemotherapy side effects.
Joshua would sometimes need a transfusion during a blood inventory shortage at CHOC. During those times, blood donations from friends, family and strangers were critical and lifesaving for him.
“We are beyond grateful to anyone who donates blood to Joshua and other kids,” says Vanessa, Joshua’s mom. “All the kids at CHOC need heroes to come forward and donate.”
How to donate blood at CHOC
Be a hero for a CHOC hero like Joshua!
Donor recruitment is always challenging, and we want to ensure that our blood and platelet inventory remains robust at CHOC. Just one blood donation can help save up to three lives. All blood types are needed, and all donations at CHOC stay here to help our patients.
Donating blood or platelets at CHOC’s Blood Bank is easy, and involves four simple steps:
- Registration. You will sign up and go over eligibility.
- A mini physical. Your health will be evaluated, and you will answer a few questions.
- The blood donation. It will only take about eight to ten minutes.
- Refreshments. You’ll get a snack and drink following your donation.
You can have a direct impact on the recovery of a child. Your blood donation gives children a better chance at a healthy life.