DALLAS - A North Texas girl's battle against an aggressive form of cancer is highlighting the need for people to donate blood.
Haylie Geraci, 11, learned she had leukemia just a few weeks ago. It was so aggressive that she was in dire need of platelets for a blood type that isn't common. Doctors were barely able to find what she needed for her treatment
Haylie is weak but believes it's important to share her story in hopes of raising awareness. The soft-spoken sixth grader is determined to turn her diagnosis into a teachable moment.
Instead of enjoying summer vacation with her friends, Haylie is in a hospital room at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.
Haylie’s journey started just two weeks ago when the family's quiet life in Trophy Club was quickly turned upside down. The normally energetic 11-year-old was tired and complaining that her stomach hurt. A blood test and sonogram revealed she had an aggressive form of leukemia.
“They called me at the house and said she’s critical. I have to get her to the ER immediately,” recalled Melissa Geraci, Haylie’s mom.
Melissa said her daughter's platelets were so low that the hospital could not perform a spinal tap and chemotherapy. Haylie's blood type is B negative. Doctors scrambled to find a match.
“They came in at midnight. There were no platelets available,” Melissa said. “They kept trying and trying. Finally, at 2:30 a.m., they got one unit.”
Hospitals rely on organizations like Carter BloodCare to supply them with blood and platelets. B negative is a less common blood type, and the platelets are only good for a few days.
“We do historically see less donations in the summertime,” explained Dr. William Crews with Carter BloodCare. “After we collect a unit of platelets from a donor, it has a five-day shelf life, so to speak. It has to be transfused in five days.”
Faced with that jarring reality, Haylie's mom took to social media to urge folks who are B negative to donate. The community responded by creating yard signs with the “#HealingForHaylie." Her little brother's baseball team helped to raise money and awareness.
“My mom always told me I was going to change the world. She just didn't know how I was going to do it,” Haylie said. “I hope people who hear my story will want to donate blood so other kids won't have to go through what I'm going through right now.”
Haylie will remain at Children's until at least the end of the month while she undergoes chemotherapy.
Where to Donate Blood
Go to any Carter BloodCare location and let them know the donation is for SPON033472 for Haylie Geraci at Children's Medical Center of Dallas. Even if your blood type doesn't match, Haylie will receive credit for the blood.
Gateway Church is also holding several blood drives this summer to benefit Carter BloodCare, which provides blood & platelets to people like Haylie.
7125 Legacy Drive in Frisco
June 16 @ 3 - 8 p.m.
June 17 @ 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Grand Prairie Campus
2404 N. Carrier Parkway in Grand Prairie
June 23 @ 3 - 8 p.m.
June 24 @ 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
North Fort Worth Campus
4209 Basswood Boulevard in Fort Worth
June 30 @ 3 - 8 p.m.
July 1 @ 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
7501 Davis Boulevard in North Richland Hills
July 7 @ 3 - 8 p.m.
July 8 @ 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.