Mike G. • Amarillo, TX

I am thankful to blood donors because...

During the latter months of 2005 I began to feel tired all the time. I went to the doctor to inquire about why I was feeling this way. I take a prescription for high blood pressure one of the side effects was a condition called Neutropenia or low white blood cell count in the blood. The doctor and I decided to change the medication and see if the condition cleared but it worsened over the next few months. January of the next year I was referred to a hematologist who concluded I had a type of Leukemia called Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. We were referred to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston TX. The original diagnosis was correct but I had an additional problem. I had what is known as an Inversion 16 with the Leukemia 16 parameters of my DNA chain had inverted and my doctor prescribed a chemo-therapy regimen to begin immediately.

During the chemo treatments my blood cells were killed in order to treat the disease and I was given many units of blood and platelets. We found out the blood products were needed to assist my body recoup from the chemo process. The chemo-therapy would cause my body to not have any ability to fight off even the slightest infection if I was injured or started to bleed my blood didn't have the ability to clot due to the lack of platelets. My disease and story are not unique; it is played out many times every day. The regular infusion of blood and platelets keeps many patients purely and simply alive. The disease causes a tremendous amount of damage to the blood system; the chemo-therapy destroys it even further. Blood products from donors give many people the ability to fight debilitating diseases rebuilds their blood system to fight off infection and live as normal life as possible. Blood donors actually save lives.

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