Kind­ness of strangers

Blood do­na­tions saved the life of Fort El­lis boy

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY LYNN CUR­WIN

Three-year-old Eric Giles has faced some pretty big chal­lenges in his short life­time but for­tu­nately, there were peo­ple who came through for him.

With­out blood donors, three­year-old Eric Giles wouldn’t be here to­day.

“You wouldn’t know there was any­thing wrong with him now, but we have to be care­ful be­cause his im­mune sys­tem is weak,” said his mother, michelle. “He’s just start­ing vac­cines.”

The Fort El­lis boy was born with a rare con­di­tion called HLH – hemophago­cytic lym­pho­his­ti­o­cy­to­sis – in which cer­tain white blood cells at­tack other cells and dam­age or­gans. He re­quired bone mar­row trans­plants and blood prod­ucts.

“He needed blood prod­ucts more than 50 times,” said his mother, Michelle. “With­out just one of those he wouldn’t be here. He sur­vived be­cause some­one gave. Peo­ple we don’t know saved his life.”

When Eric was two-and-a-half months old, he had a per­sis­tent fever. Af­ter blood work was done at the IWK Health Cen­tre in Hal­i­fax, they knew some­thing se­ri­ous was wrong.

Within a week, HLH had been di­ag­nosed.

“e only cure is a bone mar­row trans­plant, but he had to go through eight months of chemo, and take steroids, rst,” said Michelle. “ey put a cen­tral line in and he got trans­fu­sions through there, but I could tell by the look on his face that the chemo made him feel pretty crappy.”

It took three bone mar­row trans­plants be­fore a big change was no­ticed in Eric’s health.

e last one was over a year ago, and he hasn’t needed blood prod­ucts for sev­eral months.

Her ex­pe­ri­ence with Eric has spurred Michelle to be­come a reg­u­lar donor.

“I never gave blood be­fore, and didn’t think about it a lot, but now I know how valu­able it is to give,” she said.

“I imag­ine how much panic there would be if the blood wasn’t there. ey just called and it was there, in the bank. Know­ing it was there was the only com­fort we had.”

Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices will be hold­ing a blood donor clinic at Im­manuel Bap­tist Church Hall on

Nov. 14 and 15 from noon to3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m., and on Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ap­point­ments can be booked by down­load­ing the Give­blood app or at https://www.blood.ca

SUB­MIT­TED

Three-year-old Eric Giles doesn’t yet un­der­stand how the gen­eros­ity of blood donors saved his life. He’s re­ceived more than 50 blood trans­fu­sions.

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