On April 19, 2016 Mississippi Blood Services celebrated annual Reunite for Life event. This gathering of blood donors and patients celebrates life and embodies the importance of being a blood donor. During the event patients were able to meet some of the donors whose blood helped save their lives. This year’s honorees were two young boys; Colton Bullock and Derrick “DJay” James.
Colton Bullock is a 6 year old boy who loves sports. His dream is to one day be able to play sports with his friends and be part of a team. Colton was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), which is a type of childhood cancer in which the bone marrow makes too may immature white blood cells. For the past 3 years, Colton has depended on the kindness of strangers to save his life through platelet and whole blood donations. One such donor was James Williams, long time MBS blood donor. Colton and his family were able to meet Mr. Williams and his wife at the event and personally thank him for being a blood donor.
Derrick “DJay” James is an 8 year old Sickle Cell Anemia patient. DJay has to receive blood transfusions every 4 weeks to help decrease his risk of having a stroke. DJay started receiving transfusions at the age of 5, and will continue to receive the lifesaving transfusions for the rest of his life. At Reunite for Life, DJay was able to meet two of his donors, Lucy Hite and Lettesha Ephfrom.
Guest at the event were not only able to witness the reunion of donor to patient, but were treated to an update from a long time friend to MBS, Lane Bethany. Lane was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan Anemia (a condition that impacts only around 1.000 individuals in the U.S.) as an infant. Now 15 years old, Lane knows how critical it is that those who can, become blood donors.
Reunite for Life is the perfect example of why blood donors are so important. They truly save AND change lives.