The holidays are a time to relax, to reflect, and to recharge. For the Volousky family (right) of James Island, South Carolina, the holiday season also serves as a reminder of how different their lives looked nearly three years ago, when their three-year-old daughter, Eliza Cate, was diagnosed with cancer. Now on the other side of that diagnosis, the holidays are a chance to be thankful for her recovery – and for the community blood donors who helped make that possible.
“Every holiday now, feels a little bit different. You’re just more thankful,” said Zach Volousky, Eliza Cate’s dad. “You’re just more appreciative of every day that she’s on this earth.”
The holidays are often referred to as the ‘happiest time of the year,’ but for The Blood Connection, the local community blood center, it’s also one of the hardest times of the year. Lifechanging cancer diagnoses, car accidents, and traumas don’t pause for the holiday season; it’s often the opposite, with hospitals requesting more blood products during the holiday season. Historically, blood donor turnout also drops, making it difficult to keep the shelves stocked for local hospital patients in need.
“We know there are lots of other families undergoing what we went through,” said Volousky.
Zach Volousky will never forget January 7, 2020: the day he and his wife, Cadence, received news no parent ever wants to hear: their happy, previously healthy 3-year-old had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. What started as a quest for answers to recurring fevers and occasional limping, turned into a whirlwind diagnosis and an immediate treatment plan.
“You’re enjoying the holidays and then all the sudden you’re in a lifechanging few years. It’s extremely difficult,” Volousky recounts.
Over the next two years, the Volousky’s life morphed into a new normal filled with appointments, chemotherapy treatments, and more blood transfusions than they ever could have imagined. Those blood transfusions were readily available for Eliza Cate, thanks to community blood donors.
“I was not a frequent donor. I had donated before, but obviously now, I’m a donor every 56 days,” said Volousky. “You realize the importance.”
The importance of blood donations is hard to quantify. Blood products cannot be replicated or manufactured in a lab: they must be donated from one person to another.
“You can give your neighbors a gift ten times greater than what they’ll find under the tree: the gift of more time with their loved ones,” said Delisa English, President and CEO of The Blood Connection. “Blood donation is a selfless gift to your community that we can all give this holiday season.”
Thanks in part to community blood donors, Eliza Cate is celebrating Christmas this year cancer-free, back to enjoying a normal childhood. She is just one of many patients across the Carolinas and Georgia that can spend the holidays with their families thanks to the generosity of blood donors with The Blood Connection.
To reach new blood donors and encourage past donors to roll up their sleeves, TBC is excited to offer several exciting incentives for blood donors throughout the month of December.
December 1 – 31: Santa’s Big Giveaway! Saving lives is hard work – you deserve a vacation! One lucky blood donor will win a five-night stay at a beach condo in Folly Beach, S.C. – a $2,300 value! Three other donors will also win $500 Air BNB gift cards! (House Rental is for June 15-20. Dates are not flexible. Prize is not transferable).
December 21 – December 31: As a thank you for donating blood with TBC and saving local lives, all donors will receive a $20 eGift card plus a BONUS $50 eGift card! ***mobile drive incentives may vary***
To find locations to donate, go to thebloodconnection.org/donate.
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