Blood recipient, Lily Palmer (left) and dad Troy (far right) with broadcast personality Liz West and Maple Leaf Sports + Entertainment’s Jeff Carter watch the collections total rise.

Recipients

When Michelle and Troy Palmer were expecting their daughter, they knew there was a possibility she could be born with the same rare blood disorder from which Troy suffers. Their fears were confirmed when Lily was diagnosed a few days after birth with Hereditary Spherocytosis, a condition where red blood cells are shaped differently than normal cells. This makes it difficult for them to pass through blood vessels in the spleen, causing the spleen to destroy the cells, often faster than the body can produce them.

“Initially, we were overcome with grief and uncertainty,” Michelle remembers. “Even though we knew that there was a 50 percent chance that Lily would inherit the disorder, it was still difficult to come to terms with.”

During the first two years of her life, Lily received 15 blood transfusions. The Hospital For Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto became much like a second home for the family.

“The staff were fantastic. Our visits were sometimes 12 hours long, and the doctors, nurses, and volunteers did everything they could to make these procedures as comfortable as possible. We spent so much time at Sick Kids that Lily even took her first steps during one of our appointments,” said Michelle.

Five days after her second birthday, Lily had surgery to remove her spleen, which ultimately ended her reliance on donor blood. She is now a happy, healthy, energetic five-year-old who loves school, books, singing and dancing.

“Lily is doing remarkably now. Every single time she reaches a milestone, or celebrates a holiday or birthday, we remember that she is only able to do so because of the selflessness of blood donors,” says Michelle.

“We are so very lucky to have Canadian Blood Services and a safe, reliable blood supply here in Canada. Blood donations have saved both my husband’s and daughter’s lives. We will do everything we can to raise Lily to do remarkable things with her life – a life that has been given to her by the kindness of strangers.”

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