My son Aditya was born in January 1991 and on his third birthday, we had a small party for him, but he was not feeling well all the day. As soon as the party was over, I put him to bed and he went to sleep immediately. Later that night I went to check on him and I was instantly hit by a foul smell in the room. I lifted my son, who was asleep with his thumb in his mouth. I removed his thumb and discovered several large blood blisters on the inside of his mouth. My wife and I were really frightened at this and went to our doctor, who came immediately to our house, and insisted that he would follow us to the hospital to ascertain what was really wrong with the boy. His initial diagnosis was a Streptococcal sore throat.
Aditya was admitted to the hospital, where we were advised that his platelet count was less than 6,000 (normal count being 150k – 450k) and that he would need to stay in the hospital for further tests. The hospital advised us that they would need to do a biopsy to extract some bone marrow from his pelvis. Even with this information, it never dawned on us as to what might be really wrong with our son.
The hospital administered two full units of platelets to Aditya, and after three weeks in the hospital, he was permitted to go home. All along we were advised that Aditya was suffering from “Leukemia“, which is a fatal illness. Needless to say, we were staggered with this information and when I inquired as to the 12 to 18 number of whole blood donations were required to make up one unit of platelets, which can be used for 3 separate patients or up to three doses that can be used for a single patient. From that day I promised that I would donate blood for as long as I could, and as my son is now 24 years old I am still donating, though occasionally I am deferred. I have repaid the number almost fifth fold at this stage and will continue as long as my physician says it is OK. The fact that my blood group is AB- is especially useful and I would recommend everyone to Donate blood to the beneficial use of all those patients in the hospital who are so dependent on blood donors.