For 28 years, secretary Miriam Ramalho Ferreira da Silva, 59, has included a special prayer in her prayers: gratitude to all blood donors. After losing her eldest daughter in the first months of life, due to complications from sickle cell disease, the Brasília resident feared for the life of her second child, who received the same diagnosis at four months. However, with early identification and the start of treatment, which included regular transfusions, little Samuel had a different destiny, and his mother was able to follow all of his stages, who is currently 28 years old and has a degree in Accounting Sciences.
Sickle cell disease is a genetic condition in which the blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen in the body (hemoglobins) cannot perform their function correctly. As a result, patients develop severe health complications, such as profound anemia, pain crises, infections and complications in various organs and systems, which may vary in terms of the intensity and treatment that the body can respond to. In some cases, regular transfusions are needed. “My son receives blood practically every month since he was born. He has already had several surgeries and, without help, he could die”, explains Miriam.
A candidate for a bone marrow transplant—a cure for the disease—for most of his life, Samuel required transfusions every 15 days. With the removal of the spleen, in 2016, the interval increased and now he receives the donation once a month. “We are waiting for a compatible donor. Until the moment arrives, I barely have the words to explain the importance of volunteers. Thanks to thousands of people my son was able to get here. They are God’s angels on earth and I always pray for them and their families”, Miriam is moved.
Gratitude is also the feeling of Rosa Helena Luiz, from Minas Gerais, 45 years old, diagnosed with sickle cell disease since she was 13. In the last decade, due to other health problems caused by the disease, she started to need a transfusion per month. “If I don’t receive the donation, I die. I feel pain, very tired and weak. As I have a high grade of sickle cell disease and a history of other complications, I cannot undergo the transplant. I don’t know the people who help me, but it’s a gesture of love”, observes the woman from Minas Gerais, mother of two daughters, who remembers having run out of strength to get out of bed and do routine activities because of the condition.
Hematologist Marcelo Freitas, 48 years old, head of the Technical Unit at the Blood Center in Brasília, highlights the importance of awareness dates, such as this Friday (25), National Blood Donor Day🇧🇷 “Who makes the difference for these people is the volunteer. What happens is that, unfortunately, at times, adherence drops and that is why campaigns are important. We need people to create the habit, especially in more critical periods, such as the beginning of the year, Carnival and holidays”, he stresses.
Ministry of Health
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