After a 2-year hiatus, I returned to my local Canadian Blood Services clinic to donate blood.
At one point, I donated regularly. However, in 2019 I developed a chronic cough/throat clearing sensation. I’m still working with doctors to figure out the cause, or what works to reduce symptoms. In 2020, before a COVID-19 vaccine became available, this cough was problematic in convincing nursing staff that this was not “new or worsening”, and so my donation was refused. I decided to hold off until a vaccine was available, or the situation was otherwise more amenable for me to donate again.
Then, My son Toby died of Cancer in 2021.
That shook me to my core, and I’m still building up the fortitude to go outside and be in public again — never mind the pandemic. I wasn’t sure whether they would accept my donation. My cough hasn’t improved (or gotten particularly worse). But I am fully vaxxed + boosted, I haven’t left the country recently or otherwise done anything that puts me at high risk.
They did take my donation. That was really important to me, and was emotional if I’m totally honest.
By the time we learned that Toby had liver cancer, his liver had already failed. During his assessment, we discovered that cancer had already spread to his lymph nodes, which meant that he didn’t qualify for a liver transplant. It had infiltrated too much of his liver for a resection. Normally, aggressive chemotherapy would have been recommended, but as his liver had already failed, he wouldn’t have survived it.
We had no options. There was nothing we could do to help him. To save or extend his life.
Totally. Fucking. Helpless.
Had chemotherapy been an option, he would have needed blood platelets. Platelets that nearly anyone can donate. How fucked up is it that by the time I was able to donate again, it’s too late to save my son?
But, it’s not too late to extend or save another child’s life. Children that are going through chemotherapy right now. Children with parents that I hope never ever ever have to experience what I have.
You can help these children too. And everyone else that’s going through chemotherapy or experiencing any other number of situations that require platelets, or a blood transfusion.