At Stanford Blood Center, part of our mission is to connect donors with patients and we enjoy sharing stories and messages of gratitude from blood recipients. Do you ever wonder how those patients are doing today? We’re happy to be able to share updates from three amazing young recipients.
Brennah was seven years old when she and her older sister, McKendra, were involved in a head-on collision with a semi-trailer. As a result of the accident, Brennah had massive internal abdominal damage and a broken spine. A Life Flight helicopter transported Brennah to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital for treatment, where she spent four and a half months recovering. There were 22 procedures involved in her treatment, including nine major surgeries and transfusions of plasma and red blood cells.
Brennah has written poems and drawn artwork for blood donors, and even been a guest speaker at our annual Precious Mettle breakfast.
Brennah is doing great! She has turned out to be a runner. She is in the Cross Country season right now and is running the 5k in about 20 minutes. This isn’t earth shaking time in running, but it is to us when we think about her back injuries and all she overcame with her health! She has qualified to run at the State X-Country finals as a freshman and a sophomore. She is on track to qualify this year also. We still do community blood drives and our next one is Tuesday, October 29th.
Because of blood donors Brennah is singing in the choir and in the drama club. She’s playing the flute, she’s the jr. drum major for the high school band, student body treasurer, she’s running X-Country and Track, involved in school and community service, loves speech contests and is a 4.0 student…all because of the help of medicine and blood donors!
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Quinn Frederick Bossow was born on a Tuesday morning in 2009 with a massive cancerous tumor on his leg. On March 13, Quinn’s left leg was amputated just above the knee. At the time, Quinn’s mother Karen reached out to friends and family, imploring them to “consider donating blood to your nearest blood bank. Our little boy sure is going through a lot of it.”
Quinn’s recovery was nothing short of miraculous. He was tenacious. After the amputation, Quinn grew stronger. He ate and slept well. He learned to roll over and crawl on his own quickly. He learned to walk with a prosthetic leg using a push toy.
Earlier this year, Quinn turned five, graduated from preschool and is excited to start kindergarten in August. Mom Karen says:
We always thought that if he could stay cancer-free until he was five, we could start breathing. He did it. Even still, when I think about Quinn’s first week and a half in the hospital, I well up with tears, but our family mostly has a lot of joy. Since Quinn was profiled by the blood center, we added Grant, now almost three, to the family. Raising three kids is a crazy, stressful, wonderful, and overwhelming experience, but it makes Quinn just one of the pack.
Quinn continues to be a really amazing kid. When he isn’t driving me crazy (which he does with some frequency), he is sweet, fun, and adorable. He has a smile that just lights up the room. He gets so excited about whatever his current obsession is — most recently building toys, snakes, puzzles, trains and rocketships. He is probably happiest when spending time at home with our family building and playing.
That said, he loves school. He is a model student – diligent, quiet, and incredibly hard working – in the classroom, while a fun, spirited, sometimes wild kid on the playground. He has made a few good friends (he is quite the ladies man) and seems to be really content having those close relationships.
Quinn keeps growing (thank goodness!) requiring a new prosthesis every year. He does incredibly well with his prosthesis, but it still breaks my heart when I see him falling behind, unable to run as fast as the other kids, and when he falls because the leg can’t keep up with him. The parts they make for kids just aren’t all that good, so we’re always telling him that eventually he will be super speedy and the technology will be there for him.
This year, we spoke to all of the classes at Quinn’s preschool about his prosthesis (and did the same at my daughter’s kindergarten class last year). I have the talk pretty polished now, reading a story (It’s OK to Be Different), passing around a bunch of stuffed animal bears, then showing Quinn’s bear with a prosthesis, and finally showing the class Quinn’s prosthesis. We also pass around his old prostheses for the kids to check out along with a poster collage I made with pictures of Quinn at birth, learning to walk, and doing different activities with his prosthesis on. With the older kids, we have even talked about blood donation!
Quinn has been absolutely amazing at each of these talks. He seems really comfortable in his own skin, which makes me so happy. He doesn’t talk a whole lot during the presentation, but he enthusiastically shows off his bear and his prosthesis, and seems to look forward to sharing.
I love when people contact me to tell me how they continue to donate blood because of knowing his story and I love being able to tell Quinn how sharing his story has helped save other people’s lives.
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We first met Kevin Murphy several years ago when we featured him in our series of videos about blood recipients and their stories. Kevin had been a normal, active child until his health began to decline rapidly over the course of a month at age 12. Doctors determined the decline was the result of cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle. He would need an immediate heart transplant to survive, which he received soon after.
The next year, the Murphy family began hosting its annual Pay it Forward blood drive at their home as a way to celebrate the life of Kevin’s donor and to encourage others to donate blood. To date, the drive has brought in over 350 units of blood for Stanford Blood Center.
Today, Kevin is a healthy 18-year-old! He is a senior in high school and runs track and field, as well as cross country. Over the summer he traveled to Houston, TX to compete in the Transplant Games of America, representing Northern California. He received seven gold medals and two silver medals in track and field events. He was also invited to represent the U.S. in the World Games next August in Argentina. He is active in his youth group and is a youth leader for middle school kids. He is excited about entering into college next year and plans to submit many college applications.
With each blood donation, miracles such as these are made a reality. These special kids were given a second chance at life and their families are forever grateful to blood donors for making that possible.