“There are a million reasons to give blood. Here is one.”
So says a poster, with a photograph of a little girl in a pink hoodie, that advertises an upcoming blood drive in Maple Ridge.
Five-year-old Paisley has leukemia.
Donna Kluz and the staff at the Maple Ridge office of the Ministry of Children and Family are organizing a blood drive to support Paisley and her mom, who is their co-worker and friend. Kluz said they want to help and to raise awareness that there is a deficit in blood transfusions.
The ministry staff have organized a Battle of the Bravest Blood Drive Contest between their group and other Ridge Meadows community organizations. Westcoast Family centres, the CEED Centre and the Maple Ridge RCMP are all organizations that have all taken up the challenge.
“Our goal is to make it an annual event – an ongoing support for families in this situation,” said Kluz.
Paisley’s mother explained her daughter was just four in December, when she and her husband noticed puffy eyelids, bags under her eyes and that she wasn’t her energetic self. They took her to a doctor who found she had swollen glands. He ordered blood and urine tests, which soon showed acute B cell lymphoblastic leukemia.
The family would like to maintain its privacy.
Paisley went to B.C. Children’s Hospital for 10 days, and then the family had a stay at Ronald McDonald House for a month, as she started treatment. It was the start of two and a half years of chemotherapy, with two more years to go.
It’s tough for a little girl.
“She does pretty well. She doesn’t like it, but she knows she needs to stay still.”
Apple sauce with medication in it might make her feel sick, but she knows she has to eat it.
There are good days and bad days for Paisley.
“Normally, she is an extremely happy and loving little girl,” said her mom. “She is a rule follower, and she likes to tell on her little sister, who is three, and keeps her sister in line.
“She is caring, smart and inquisitive.”
Paisley has started kindergarten this year. “She will have to miss a lot of days for treatment, and I have to be available to pick her up if she gets a fever or anything.”
Almost all children with this type of cancer are cured and Paisley is doing well.
“They are pleased with how her body has responded so far to the treatment.”
Her mom said the blood drive is a much-appreciated way for her friends to show they care.
“She needs lots of transfusions, and for all of her friends she’s met at Ronald McDonald House, blood is so important to them,” she said.
“Blood is the best gift you can give.”
The blood drive will be Sept. 20, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Maple Ridge Alliance Church (20399 Dewdney Trunk Road. To set an appointment, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org