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H.B. teen needs blood to help fight rare disease

2.0 from 4 votes
Monday, September 12, 2011

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A Huntington Beach family is appealing to the community to help their teenage daughter battle a rare blood disease.

Haley Butcher, 17, is in need of blood and platelet donations to help her combat complications she is facing in dealing with a rare disease called Myelodysplasia, which stops bone marrow from producing normal blood cells.

MDS is diagnosed in only 100 children a year in the United States, according to Be the Match, the National Marrow Donor Program. If left untreated, the condition can develop into a severe form of leukemia.

Butcher, a Marina High student, was diagnosed in February and found a bone marrow match in July and underwent a transplant.

Just two days later, the teen had to be placed on life support to assist her breathing after she contracted a lung infection, said her mom Cathy Butcher.

“Her body is still working on accepting the new bone marrow,” she said. “The (donated) white blood cells bridge the gap by ‘borrowing’ others’ ability to fight the infection… she doesn’t have any of her own.”

The chemotherapy Butcher has received for her MDS has destroyed the white blood cells she needs to fight infections, leaving her lungs vulnerable, her mother said.

MDS and its related health issues have hospitalized the once-active Varsity volleyball player and she has since had to drop out of school.

Butcher has undergone multiple chemotherapy sessions, biopsies, spinal taps and other treatments to battle her disease, her mom said.

“The doctors weren’t quite so hopeful at the beginning, but she’s so strong and determined,” she said.

Butcher’s family and friends have been working to find donors while organizing blog and Facebook campaigns with regular updates about her condition.

“We have a strong family and we just pull together so we’re making it work,” Cathy Butcher said. “She knows that she’s loved and she’s got a really strong group of friends that are with her every step of the way.”

To donate type O blood for Butcher, call the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center at 310-794-7217. The UCLA center is at 1045 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024.

All donors must be at least 17 years old and meet eligibility requirements that can be found on Butcher is currently accepting both regular blood donations and platelet donations.

Copyright © 2011 Orange County Register Communications

Author: By Danielle Shi
Source: The Orange County Register
2.0 from 4 votes
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