A three-day blood drive is being held in Bathurstto help increase the supply ofblood and plasma to help a toddler living with a rare disease.
Mavrik Hampewas only six months old when he was diagnosed withX-linked agammaglobulinemia (XLA), a disorder that affects the body's ability to fight infection.
"He was displaying signs of frequent infections that he just wasn't recovering from and infections that could cause a lot of damage for a little one," said his mother, Diane McKiel.
Mavrikhad multiple bouts of pneumonia along with the infections before a blood test showed he had no neutrophils, a type of white blood cell.
"They sent us immediately to the IWK in a plane and after a few days he wasn't producing any antibodies and they sent away for genetic testing."
At that point, X-linkedagammaglobulinemiawas confirmed.
McKielsaidMavrik, now 14 months old, will never produceantibodies in his blood to fight infections. He will require treatments of human immune globulin for the rest of his life.
"Everybody's learning through this process, both myself and his health-care providers."
McKieldescribes what they were living through as survival mode as they tried to find out what was wrong withMavrik.
"You just take everything day by day and you put your trust in the hands of many doctors that were involved."
McKielsaid blood donations are important forMavrik's survival because thehuman immune globulin is a plasma derived treatment from blood.
"This particular product, it takes thousands of donors to make this very concentrated formula ofimmune globulin."
He receives the treatment each month. He hasn't had a fever since he started the treatment.
"We couldn't have asked for a better outcome," said McKiel.
"As a mom, I was trying to figure out what can I do for him and what I can do for him is just make his story to be known and for people to be encouraged to go donate blood for this very reason."
McKiel had only given blood twice before her son's illness. Now she better understands theimportance of giving blood.
"I will be a lifetime donor now," she said. She has also registered as a stem-cell donor.
The blood drive will be held at theK.C. Irving Centre in the Paul Ouellette Room.
Donations can be made Monday from4:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesday from noon-3 p.m. and 4:30-7:30 p.m. and onWednesday from 1-3 p.m.and then 4:30-7:30 p.m.
"We will be there as a family throughout," said McKiel. "I want the city of Bathurst to see what they're doing for him. There's a little boy you're here helping and we're so happy and so grateful."
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