I had donated blood in the past but when our baby was in need of blood for her life saving surgery I knew I needed to do more. Our youngest daughter was born in Early September 2001, a planned home birth, attended by my midwife team and close family. During her day 5 checkup our midwife asked me to listen to her heart - there was a whooshing noise, we would need to see our doctor. On her 8 day of life she met our family doctor who referred us to a paediatrician the same day. After a ECG and O2 monitoring we were faced with life changing news- our brand new daughter would need to be transferred to London and eventually Sick Kids to have life saving surgery. Our daughter was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries and less than two hours later she turned blue and things got even more scary. A helicopter was ordered and she was on her way by air as we travelled by car to meet her in London Children’s Hospital. Laura needed two units of blood to do surgery to keep her stable until she could be transferred to Sick Kids. The open heart surgery she needed to save her life is only performed at Toronto Sick Kids and she couldn’t fly there because all of this took place on September 11, 2001. We waited for her to stabilize and eventually after a long week in hospital we travelled together in an ambulance to Toronto. Her open heart surgery required 5 units of blood just to prime the bypass machine, thankfully she was stable and no more blood was needed. Laura’s recovery is well noted by her family doctor, paediatrician and cardiac team- she has never needed medication or hospital stays since her discharge only 7 days after her surgery. Laura is now in second year of her Honours Science program and plans to continue her studies researching genetics and making things better for the next generation of heart patients. I have found 9 new donors since her surgery and while she has been turned away three times, she plans to keep trying. Thank you to Canadian Blood Services and the the seven strangers who had a part in saving Laura’s life.
Why I seek out new donors