I would like to thank the dedicated platelet donors for giving me the gift of my children. I am typing this while snuggling with a thriving 17 month old, as my 4 and 6 year olds slurp their oatmeal at the dining room table. Our journey to parenthood began with the loss of our full term son, Marek, at birth 8 years ago. A diagnoses wasn't clear and we were encouraged to try again. When our second baby came after another apparently normal pregnancy, she was found to be gravely ill with virtually no platelets in her blood. It was a random platelet donor that saved her life and prevented the brain damage and death that was probably inevitable without. A week later, we were in the clear -- our daughter would survive and come home.
After our diagnosis with neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT) we were counselled on how to prevent or minimize risk in our future children. Essentially, my body produces very high antibodies against the baby's platelets in utero, similar to the days of when untreated Rh disease led to low red blood cells. Once a baby is born, they have to be treated with platelets and other blood products until my antibodies die off in their system. They have no long term medical needs as long as this initial period passes without strokes, brain hemorrhages (like in Marek), or other bleeds. This is where the donor platelets give the gift of a healthy life. I was treated throughout my last two pregnancies with IVIG, a blood product as well, to lesson the effects my antibodies had on baby. We had matched donor platelets on hand for the planned births of my next two daughters, Natalie and Margaux. I am so thankful to Canadian Blood Services, and especially to the donors that gave my surviving children a heathy chance at life. My husband, in turn, has become a dedicated platelet donor. These experiences no doubt contributed to Alain deciding to pursue a second career in medicine -- he's taken a special interest in haematology and neonatology during his training.
Please know the difference your donation makes. It takes one donor to save a life.