Thanking strangers: Family 'eternally grateful' for blood donations

Quinn Bradley, a 14-year-old Mustang resident, almost died in 2011. Quinn was diagnosed with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome when he was 5. He is healthy thanks to the help of a lot of Oklahomans who they likely will never meet.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Modified: August 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm •  Published: August 12, 2013

Consider this Quinn Bradley's thank-you card. Because it would be impossible for him to thank everyone responsible for saving his life.

For one, there are at least 141 people in Oklahoma who donated blood that saved him when his body couldn't produce enough blood to keep him alive.

And then there are the doctors and nurses who didn't give up on him when his organs were failing.

And then, there's something bigger than him.

“All these donors are great, all these doctors are great, my parents are great, but that's not why I'm living,” Quinn said. “They're all pieces of the puzzle, but that still leaves a big hole in the puzzle, and that's where God fills in the last piece. Can't complete a puzzle without the last piece.”

Quinn is a 14-year-old boy with an appreciation for life far beyond his years.

When he was 5, Quinn was diagnosed with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, a rare disorder that affects his body's ability to produce platelets, the cells that help blood clot.

It's a potentially life-threatening disorder that primarily affects boys, according to Boston Children's Hospital. Somewhere between one and 10 males out of 1 million worldwide have Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, according to the National Institutes of Health. The condition is even rarer in girls and women.

Quinn was diagnosed with the disorder when he was 5. He was at the emergency room with a persistent nose bleed. Doctors soon figured out he had the syndrome.

Throughout his childhood, Quinn suffered frequent nose bleeds and, at times, would lose so much blood that his body couldn't replace it fast enough. At 14, he has had more than 100 blood transfusions, a procedure that replaces the blood his body can't make.

That's where the 141-plus blood donors come in.

Gift of donations

Throughout Oklahoma, there are a lot of people who have helped save Quinn's life.

Dennis Kelly is one of them.

Kelly, a 63-year-old Oklahoma City resident, has donated more than 23 gallons of blood. He remembers the day his dad came home and told the family he had helped save someone's life by giving blood at a hospital.

That stuck with Kelly.

He started giving blood in his late 20s. Until recently, he never had the opportunity to meet someone he had donated blood to.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute held a banquet on Aug. 2 in which eight of Quinn's donors, including Kelly, attended and met him.

Kelly said after meeting Quinn, he understood why his father was so happy that day almost 50 years ago when he came home and told them about the car accident victim he had donated blood to.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, medicine and fitness, among other things. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a news-editorial and broadcast production degree. Outside of work, she enjoys riding her bike, taking pictures of...
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BY THE NUMBERS

Oklahoma Blood Institute manages donations from more than 209,000 people who donate each year. However, of the people who are eligible to donate blood, less than 5 percent actually give at least annually.

Blood donors give more than 250,000 units of blood annually.

Oklahoma Blood Institute processes, tests and delivers those units to 144 hospitals across the state.

An average of 700 blood donors are needed each day to maintain a 3-to-5 day supply of blood to meet the ongoing needs of state hospitals.

Since red blood cells last only 42 days, and platelets last only 5 days, supplies must constantly be replenished by donors.

Source: Oklahoma Blood Institute

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