On July 26, 2005, 15-year-old Kendra Dudek’s life changed forever.
“I’d been sick for some time,” she said. “I was weak, losing weight, and barely able to make it to the top of the stairs without running out of breath.”
After initial tests, Kendra, who was already asthmatic, was told she could be experiencing extreme asthma symptoms. On a return visit, she was immediately sent to the Emergency Room where she was tested and diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). “I was very scared,” she said. “I’d never heard of children or teens having cancer.”
Kendra needed three blood transfusions early on in her treatment. “Altogether, I received 66 blood and platelet transfusions,” she said. Kendra is now cancer-free. “I wouldn’t be here today if it hadn’t been for people who generously donated blood and platelets. I couldn’t have survived treatment without them. You don’t know what a difference it makes.”
“It’s amazing to see your child regain color and energy from a blood transfusion after being depleted by aggressive chemotherapy,” said Kendra’s mother, Shannon. “Just one bag of blood can do so much. It literally brings life back into your child.”
Kendra and Shannon gratefully thank all blood donors and blood drive coordinators. “Not just for me,” Kendra said, “but for all the other kids with cancer who need transfusions. I speak for all of the young patients I know who’ve survived cancer or are still receiving treatment. They must have blood and blood products available for transfusion on a routine basis.”
Every day, 46 children and teens in the United States are diagnosed with cancer. When people ask what they can do to help a child, teen or the family of a young cancer patient, one answer is blood donation. Giving blood is an easy way to ensure that a safe, stable blood supply is always available for cancer patients.
“Again, I want to thank all the donors and blood drive coordinators who work every day and kept blood flowing to my daughter and continue to do so for other young patients,” said Shannon. “You make it happen. “