Young leukemia patients highlight importance of blood donation

With Canadian Blood Services ramping up its call for donors this week, two young leukemia patients were in Vancouver Thursday to highlight the importance of giving blood.

June 14 is World Blood Donor Day and 10-year-old Jaidyn McGinn is example of how much of a difference donating can make.

The White Rock, B.C. girl was diagnosed with leukemia when she was just three years old. Her mother, Jaime Braithwaite, said Jaidyn is now in remission after undergoing chemotherapy, but that the treatment was only possible thanks to regular blood transfusions.

Jaidyn‘s hemoglobin levels were in the 20s when she first started receiving transfusions. Jaime said the normal range for children at that age is in the 120s.

"I didn‘t realize myself how important it is until we had to experience it. Canadian Blood Services having the best catch line, ‘It‘s in you to give‘ and it‘s true," Jaime said. "You‘ve got it to give and we‘re so thankful for the donors that did give blood so that she was able to take all her medicine, get all her chemo and, in the end, survive cancer."

Tony Lee‘s 11-year-old son, Jay, is still undergoing chemotherapy for his leukemia, but his father said that without the generosity of blood donors, his son wouldn‘t even have had a chance of surviving the deadly disease.

"Without the blood transfusions, it‘s impossible for him to finish his chemotherapy," Tony said. "Words cannot express our gratitude towards those who give blood. They actually helped save Jay‘s life."

Jay has had 36 transfusions since February and his future is looking bright.

On Thursday, he thanked those who helped make his treatment possible.

"You helped save a lot of children‘s lives," Jay said. "Don‘t stop giving."

CBS says donor blood is also crucial for accident victims and others and that the need is high in the summer.

The organization is holding National Blood Donor Week from June 11 to 17 in a bid to raise awareness and ramp up donations during the typically quieter summer months when the organization tends to see low blood inventory.

CBS needs to collect about 16,000 units of blood each week to keep up with patient‘s needs.

Those interested in becoming donors can find a clinic and book an appoint .

The CBS website offers additional resources including answers to frequently asked questions surrounding blood donation and a preliminary online survey to determine if you qualify to become a donor.