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Three year old needs blood transfusions to live | News

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Three year old needs blood transfusions to live
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - Blood transfusions are usually associated with life saving emergencies but one 3-year old West Michigan girl needs them just to stay alive.

It certainly looks like Audrey Strock is just like all the other kids on the playground, but there's one thing that makes her different from her older brother and sister, "It's an eye opening thing as a parent to see this with your young beautiful child."

Audrey has a genetic blood disorder called spherocytosis. Her red blood cells are weak causing her to be chronically anemic.

At her one year check up, Audrey's pediatrician tested her hemoglobin because he thought she looked unusually pale. It was dangerously low just 6.6, normal is between 11 and 15.

A diagnosis of the genetic blood disorder meant at just a year old Audrey would need several blood transfusions. "Once she got her first blood transfusion she was like a different person. And then we were like oh, this is how she should have been this entire time," says Audrey's mom Heather.

Those transfusions have now become a normal part of Audrey's life. "She goes to the hematologist every two months and then they tell us go and get labs done in two weeks and we'll see you back in two months so it's kind of continuous."

Audrey's visits to Grand Rapids Helen De Vos Children's Hospital have become so regular over the past two years that Audrey doesn't even cry when she gets poked. In fact she's more interested in where she's going to put her puppy dog sticker. Something that is a little hard for Audrey's mom Heather to realize,"The fact that she's used to it is sad to me."

Once she's hooked up to the life saving blood supply Audrey plays for the next 3 to 4 hours until the transfusion is complete. "They said if the blood was not available it could be fatal to her," says Heather.

Soon Audrey will regain the pink color in her cheeks and lips, but unfortunately it doesn't last, "We noticeably can tell that she's tired versus the other kids and the energy level and that's all the time." Audrey's father Dan knows she'll soon need another transfusion so she can keep up with her brother and sister, "That's why we are so thankful that people do donate and continue to give because there are so many people other than Audrey that are in need."

There is the possibility that Audrey could grow out of the spherocytosis but if she continues to need even just a few transfusions a year her doctors may consider removing her spleen so she doesn't need them, but that of course comes with other complications.

If Audrey's story has inspired you to give blood click here to find out more about the Michigan Blood Drive happening this week. Anyone who attempts to donate will get a $5 gas card.  

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