Cancer survivor Carter Milaney, 12, holds his birthday cake with his mother Marla Milaney at the Kelowna Blood Donar Clinic Tuesday. Carter received multiple blood transfusions that helped save his life. - Credit: Steven Lin

Blood donations saved Kelowna boy’s life

Cancer survivor Carter Milaney received multiple blood transfusions and a bone marrow transplant

Cancer survivor Carter Milaney isn’t sure what he will do when he meets the 21-year-old who donated bone marrow to save his life.

Carter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma a year and a half ago and as part of his treatment, he endured more than 12 rounds of chemotherapy.

In his first nine months of care, he also received more than 15 transfusions of blood products and required a bone marrow transplant to save his life. On May 12, he will be two years post-transplant and cancer-free.”

Now the Kelowna Christian School student is posed to possibly meet his saviour, May 12.

“It was kinda weird because it was this 21-year-old guy who I’ve never met, and you’re almost shocked,” said Carter who along with his mother Marla Milaney celebrated his 13th birthday at the Kelowna Blood Clinic on Dilworth Drive.

“Why would a 21-year-old guy from somewhere donate blood? Before I wouldn’t have thought about donating blood or registering to give bone marrow,” said Carter.

At the blood clinic, Carter’s friends and family sighed up to donate blood throughout the day.

Related: Kelowna dragon boaters donate blood

“The family wanted a way to give back and encourage the community to say ‘you know what, if you need a reason to give, Carter’s a really good reason to do that,'” said Marla.

We’re celebrating today the fact he is in remission and that the blood and blood products he received did help him through his recovery,” said Gayle Voyer, with Canadian Blood Services. “Every day there (are) a lot of patients in need and Carter is one of those examples.”

To donate blood, certain requirements have to be met. Gay men have to wait a year after their last sexual encounter, a policy changed in 2016 that previously banned gay men from donating at all.

Voyer said the eligibility requirements are regulated by Health Canada.

“It’s another policy in place to make sure the blood system remains in place, we actually just received some funding from the government to do further research to update that policy,” said Voyer. “We’ve just received from funding from the government, to actually update that policy.”

She says if you can’t donate, help out in a different way by spreading awareness.

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