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Social Media Helps Save Young Girl’s Life
By Michelle Lele, ASBP Blood Donor Recruiter, Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii
Haley was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, brain and spinal cord cancer. After life-saving surgery and the help of donors, Haley is now at home with her family and best friend Lovey.
Sending out a call for blood and blood products used to be a lot more complicated; but social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are making collecting blood much easier. In fact, when the family of young Haley, used social media to share her story, her life was changed forever.
At age 5, Haley was diagnosed with medulloblastoma—a brain and spinal cord cancer located in her posterior fossa, the part of the brain that controls balance and other complex motor functions. According to the Children’s Hospital of Boston’s website, medulloblastoma is the most common malignant central nervous system tumor for children as it accounts for 15-20 percent of pediatric brain tumors.
As networkers started reading Haley’s story being shared online by her family, everyone wanted to help. The need to help Haley and others spread quickly through Facebook and Twitter. For two weeks straight the phone rang constantly at the Tripler Army Medical Center's blood donor center. Concerned family, friends and people as far as the state of Texas called wanting to help. Several requested their donation from another state be sent to Tripler Army Medical Center for Haley.
After life-saving surgery, Haley is now at home and on her way to recovery. “Haley couldn’t have had surgery without the donors. It is not until you see that anonymous gift of a person’s blood going into the body of your own child do you understand the power of that gift. Our daughter has the blood of many, giving her the chance to recover and live,” said Wendy Cockshell, Haley’s mom.
Haley’s family and friends continue to use Facebook and Twitter to say thank you to the doctors and staff at Tripler Army Medical Center who took such good care of little Haley. They also express their gratitude towards people who take the time to donate blood and platelets and give periodic updates on Haley’s condition.
Meeting Haley for the first time you would never know she had any illness. She is full of life, laughter and very curious about her surroundings. She’s come to adore the staff at Tripler and the many new friends that she has spent so much time with.
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