LOGAN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (May 4, 2018) — In many ways, Jonathan “Jack” Ashby is a typical 6-year-old boy. He loves kindergarten, is a Cub Scout and enjoys watching his favorite sports teams—namely the Phillies, Yankees and Eagles—and playing video games. He even had the opportunity to visit Disney World during a family vacation last spring.
These things are all possible thanks to Intravenous Immunoglobulin Transfusions (IVIG), which Jack receives every 21 days at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Jack suffers from specific immune deficiency, a condition that impacts his body’s ability to fight off infections, bacteria and viruses. Because he is missing 85 percent of a body’s normal antibodies and does not respond to vaccines, Jack relies on regular IVIG transfusions for survival.
“Jack has been fighting for life from before he ever took his first breath,” shared Dottie Ashby, Jack’s mother. “As he grew, so did his list of medical issues, chronic infections, allergies and other conditions. By age 2, he had already spent 500 days at CHOP.”
IVIG treatment changed all that, cutting down hospital stays to a few times per year and allowing Jack to participate in school and other activities.
“When Jack was constantly getting sick, our family of six began to avoid outings, church, weddings, birthdays and holidays—anything that would put him at risk of coming into contact with germs,” said Ashby. “When his immunologist suggested IVIG, we were cautiously optimistic.”
Jack’s IVIG treatment is made possible by the generosity of blood donors across the county. After blood is collected and tested, the immunoglobulin is separated from a donor’s plasma and is then purified and prepared for transfusion. On average, it takes more than 1,000 blood donations to make just one IVIG treatment.
To honor Jack’s journey, his family is hosting an American Red Cross blood drive on Wednesday, May 30 at Grace Church, 351 Beckett Road in Logan Township, New Jersey. Blood donation appointments are available between 3-8 p.m. To schedule an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code Jack Ashby.
Jack will require blood IVIG transfusions for the rest of his life. Yet, despite this and other medical and developmental challenges, Jack is, for the most part, a typical 6-year-old boy, or according to his mom, “a spirited, fun-loving, enthusiastic, amazing and loving little man.”
Help patients like Jack from across the region by making an appointment to give blood on May 30.
How to donate blood
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at redcrossblood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.