Holymoorside toddler Heath is proof that blood donation saves lives

A Holymoorside mum has stressed the importance of giving blood and bone marrow after vital donations saved her son's life in a battle with a rare genetic condition.

Friday, 10th August 2018, 4:41 pm
Updated Monday, 13th August 2018, 11:38 am
Anna Kowalski with her three-year-old son Heath

Anna Kowalski knew something was seriously wrong with her toddler, Heath, when he developed what she thought was a sickness bug that wouldn’t go away.

Normally a bundle of energy, the three-year-old couldn’t even manage a short walk to the park and had to be carried.

Doctors later diagnosed Heath with CD40 Ligand deficiency- which means his plasma cells do not produce the antibodies he desperately needs to fight off viruses.

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Anna Kowalski with her three-year-old son Heath

Without the antibodies the youngster has to be injected with weekly, extracted from plasma in donated blood, and an upcoming bone marrow transplant which has also arisen as a result of a selfless donation, Heath might not be here today.

Anna, 40, said: “It’s important that people realise blood and bone marrow are needed for all manner of conditions, not just the ones that would normally spring to mind, like leukemia.

“I was ignorant myself, before Heath became poorly, so I really want to get this out there.

“These days it’s so easy to give blood, and if you want to donate bone marrow just a mouth swab is required before your details are put into a database for anyone who might need that particular match. You might not even be contacted but the match is there for someone in need.

“I am so grateful for these donations as Heath will hopefully make a recovery. I won’t lie, he doesn’t enjoy the injections like any child, but he’s doing really well on the antibodies.”

To find out more about giving blood, visit: www.blood.co.uk.

To find out more about bone marrow donation, visit: www.nhsbt.nhs.uk/british-bone-marrow-registry.