A fighting chance

“Heroes come in many different ways,” says Frances Roth of Rochester. “My family’s hero is the blood donor who saved my granddaughter’s life in November 2006. That blood donor changed the course of our lives.”

On the night of November 17, 2006, Frances’ daughter-in-law, Farrah, received a call from the family pediatrician, telling her to bring Isabella, then age three, to Strong Memorial Hospital’s pediatric emergency department at once. Isabella had seen the doctor earlier that day because of Farrah’s concern for her daughter’s poor color and lethargy. Her doctor did blood tests on Isabella and saw that her blood level was extremely low. At Strong emergency that night, her parents were told that Isabella had leukemia and an immediate transfusion was required to save her life.

“We were totally blindsided; we just thought she was anemic,” said Frances. “If Isabella had not received a transfusion that night, she would not be here. Thanks to an anonymous donor (our) granddaughter survived that night. Whoever that blood donor is, we can never say thank you enough. (He or she) saved our Isabella,” she added.

Isabella’s stay in the hospital was seven weeks long, during which she received many more blood transfusions. Although she is now home, she continues to receive chemotherapy treatments. Her treatments are scheduled to last through 2009. According to Frances, Isabella is doing well and is responding to treatments but she still has a long fight ahead of her. “It’s been a long road,” said Frances. “But if it were not for a generous blood donor, we would not have Isabella in our lives. Blood donors are heroes because their donations can help save lives. To all of them, we say thank you. You can give no better gift.”