Leukemia patient in Houston needs your help with white blood cell donations

- Pictures taken by Judy Gutierrez show her beautiful daughter Shayla Morales. From the young age of 11 to now 20 she’s been battling leukemia.

“She has no immune system whatsoever,” says Gutierrez.

A cancer that essentially strips away the bodies ability to fight in infection has taken her all the way from Miami, Florida, to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center here in Houston.

“They cured her with CART-19, a new treatment at that point," Gutierrez says. "She should’ve done her transplant then, but it was so many years of her fighting cancer that she just needed a little break, but unfortunately that little break just relapsed her.”

Right now, Shayla needs to get better so she can get a second transplant, but to do that she needs white blood cell donations. In an effort to help her, her brother-in-law posted on Reddit about the need.

Donating white blood cells is a three-step process. It requires going in and getting test done with the platelet donation, then once approved you set up a day to donate. The afternoon or night before donating, you take medicine to help your bone marrow release white blood cells. The next day you go in and the process takes just a few hours.

“This is liquid gold for these patients and it is very important because unfortunately for white cells, we cannot store them. The shelf life of the cells is 24 to 48 hours. So we collect them today and we release them to the patient to infusion the same day,” says Fernando Martinez, who is the Medical Director and Chief of Transfusion Services and Donor Collection Services for the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

It’s a three day process but one Gutierrez encourages folks to do if able, to help her daughter and so many others.

“If they donate to my daughter and she wasn’t able to use them within those times, it gets donated to some other person who needs it which to me that’s brilliant also because everybody needs white cells if they can use them,” says Gutierrez.

If you would like to donate to Shayla you can contact the M.D. Anderson Blood Bank at 713-792-7777.

You can also go to:
www.mdandersonbloodbank.org

Shayla can receive new donations everyday.

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