The parents of a three-year-old boy who has received numerous blood transfusions for leukemia will make their first ever donation. They invite Quebecers to follow their example to save lives like Williams.
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On a July night last year, Jonathan Paquet and Dominique St-Hilaire brought their toddler to the emergency room because he wasn’t feeling well.
“His white blood cell count was completely down. When he left, he was saved thanks to two blood transfusions,” his father recalls.
The past year has been busy for her child. At just two years old, he underwent numerous chemotherapy treatments, in addition to half a dozen blood transfusions and several other platelets.
“If he hadn’t had that blood, he wouldn’t have survived. It was a matter of life or death. Through all of this, we have realized the importance of having donors and a full blood bank for these types of emergencies,” said Dominique St-Hilaire.
Because of her terrible fear of needles, she has never donated blood: “After seeing William get pricked every week for the last year, I tell myself if he’s able to, I can take it, my fear overcome and go. What he’s going through is 100 times worse and he’s doing it with a smile,” she said.
She also recalled the times when her child had to be pricked for tests, sometimes in the hands or in the crook of the elbow.
“He was crying but in the end he was still saying ‘Bye ma’am’ to the nurse and smiling,” she said, a touch of pride in her voice.
So today the parents will give their first blood donation as part of a collection organized by the Laval Fire Department, where they are firefighters and they are firefighters.
“Each of us may need a transfusion at some point, whether it’s during childbirth, a car accident, or if your child becomes ill. It’s important that everyone is involved in the effort,” Ms St-Hilaire said.
Since April, Héma-Québec has seen a decrease in traffic, both for mobile blood donations and for blood and plasma donation centers.
“The sixth wave of the pandemic is having a significant impact on our supply of blood and blood products. Regular donors are getting in touch, but we are short of new donors,” said spokeswoman Josée Larivée during the National Blood Donation Week, which runs until next Sunday.
Especially since the recent donors were previously recruited on the CEGEP and university campuses. “The crowds in these places aren’t what they used to be,” Ms Larivée said.
“Just taking 30 minutes to donate can make a world of difference in someone’s life,” said Jonathan Paquet.
William, who will celebrate his third birthday in two days, is now cancer free. But to avoid a repeat, he must continue treatments every three weeks until September 2023.
“When it’s all over, he’ll finally be able to ring the little bell in the hallway of Sainte-Justine Hospital. We can’t wait to get to that point,” his father said.