Teresa Wong and her partner Paul had been eagerly awaiting the birth of their second child. However, what made their wait different than that of most soon-to-be parents was that thousands of blood donors were with them every step of the way.

“I was diagnosed with ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) during a routine blood test in 2010,” explains Teresa.

With ITP a person’s platelets, which are needed to make blood clot, are attacked by antibodies. The disease can lead to seriously low platelet counts, which in turn can result in bleeding and even death.

“I felt fine, but my platelets were low and my doctor sent me to a hematologist for follow-up.”

Teresa was happy to learn that her case was mild and she didn’t need treatment, just annual monitoring. That was until last year. She was 16 weeks pregnant when doctors discovered her platelets had plummeted to a critically low level. Teresa was in danger of losing not only her baby, but also her life.

To stop the destruction of her platelets, doctors transfused her with a blood-derived product called intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg). Made from the plasma component of thousands of blood donations that are pooled together then purified in a multi-step process, IVIg coats the platelets, helping to halt their destruction.

Teresa continued to rely on IVIg transfusions every three to four weeks during the remainder of her pregnancy. She and Paul were shocked to learn how many donors it took to create this lifesaving product, and felt instantly grateful to all who have helped her during the past few months.

On Sept. 25, Teresa gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Isabella, weighing 7 lbs 1 oz and both mother and baby are doing very well.

“We’re so appreciative that we had this treatment readily available,” says Teresa, “especially when you realize that it takes so many donors to create just one unit of IVIg. Thank you.”

Photography by Lorella Zanetti