Eight-year-old Lacombe resident Parker Berry’s life was saved by those willing to donate blood.
Canadian Blood Services held a Partners For Life breakfast Sept. 20th at Sheraton Red Deer Hotel to engage with new companies and give them an opportunity to find out more about what Canadian Blood Services does in the community.
By joining Partners For Life, a nation-wide program designed for corporate and community organizations, organizations make a commitment to save lives by donating blood as a team.
Onhand at the breakfast was eight-year-old Parker who’s story was told by her mom, Carrie Ann Berry, through Shaun Richer, territory manager, donor relations of Canadian Blood Services of Red Deer and Central Alberta.
On May 27th, 2016 Parker was a happy and healthy seven-year-old that was awarded an overall achievement award and scholarship at her dance recital.
“Exactly one week later at 11 p.m. she was being rushed from the Lacombe Hospital to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton in an ambulance,” said Richer.
Some of her symptoms at the time included fever, a bleeding nose and bruising.
“It happened so fast and you don’t even realize it at the time but if we wouldn’t have had blood at the hospital when she arrived there she wouldn’t have survived a couple of more hours,” said mom, Carrie Ann.
When an EMT read Parker’s stats to the admitting nurse, her platelet count was one and the normal range is 150 to 400.
“After being admitted the doctors began doing tests that showed Parker had lost 40 per cent of her blood, was internally bleeding and her organs were shutting down.”
She was later hooked up to an IV and started receiving her first blood transfusion.
She also later began receiving her first platelet transfusion, along with her first IVIG transfusion to boost her immune system and fight the infection.
“Over the next three days she continued to receive transfusions as well as doing tests to start the process of diagnosing her illness.”
On the fourth day in the hospital, Parker received the bone marrow biopsy to rule out cancer, which also came out negative.
“After one week, the hematologist diagnosed Parker with ITP, which is Immune Thrombocytopenia, a rare blood clotting disorder.”
A child with ITP has a low number of platelets, which causes them to bruise and bleed more easily.
Parker later began a successful steroid treatment, and on day 11 was discharged from the hospital with a count of 88 and only days later her platelets went back down to four.
In September, she went back to dance even though she knew she had to do regular blood tests, and this year on May 27th she received her five-year award at her dance recital and made it through the summer without a single blood test.
“The hope is that her ITP was acute and short-lived. Plain and simple, blood donors saved Parker’s life and gave her a future,” said Richer.
Carrie Ann said Parker is doing amazingly well.
She said her steroid treatments have worked for her, so she was able to go back to skating, hockey, dance and riding her bike.
The family now donates every chance they can, and Parker is always there cheering them on.
“We’re hoping that by being here today her story will convince some people to go and donate and we can save someone else’s life,” said Carrie Ann.
The family currently reside in Lacombe.