Blood Donations Save Infant's Life

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By WSIL Manager

WSIL -- Whether you've given blood you've probably heard that each donation can save up to three lives, but it's not often that donors get to see what that blood does for others.

We're sharing the story of a local family who never thought they'd end up needing it, but their baby daughter is alive today, because of the generosity of donors.

Brandon Byars has never been able to give blood because of a rare blood
disease he was born with, but he and his wife know all too well the importance of those who can.
 
"Without that, it's possible that she could've died at that point," said Byars.
 
The disease is called spherocytosis and last December when his daughter Avery was born, Brandon found out he had passed it on to her.
 
The hereditary disease affects the red blood cells, leaving the immune system weakened.
 
"She can't fight off infections the way normal people can," said Byars.
 
For the first several months of Avery's life, she had to be taken to a lab for blood work every day.
 
"If her levels drop below that point that they need to stay at, what happens is she won't have enough blood to circulate throughout her, and it can shut down organs and things such as that,"said Byars.
 
At just three weeks old, they drove Avery to a St. Louis hospital for a blood transfusion. It's something that likely saved her life.
 
"She was extremely pale, she really didn't have any color in her lips or anything, so about halfway through the transfusion her lips turned pink," said Byars.
 
They watched as the life returned to their daughter before their eyes, knowing blood donors were the reason why.
 
The WSIL Summer Blood Drive is this Friday and Saturday, June 20 and 21. It runs from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at the following locations: 
 
Carbondale: University Mall, 1237 E. Main
Harrisburg: Kroger, 601 S. Commercial St.
Marion: Illinois Star Centre Mall, 3000 W. DeYoung St.
Mt. Vernon: Walmart Super Center, 110 Davidson Road
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