AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Blood donations drop off severely after the Thanksgiving holiday leaving many patients without the blood they need for many operations, and in some cases, life-saving procedures, according to the Red Cross.
An estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at any given time, but the Red Cross reports that less than 10 percent of that eligible population actually do each year.
"We do struggle to meet the need of the hospitals. The need never stops," said Mallory Roubo, a team supervisor at the Red Cross donation center in Portland.
Roubo said people battling cancers like Kinzie's rely on platelet donations -- but that type of donation only lasts five days, and they constantly need more.
"We are pretty much always in the low to critical," said Roubo.
For an eight-year-old girl in Auburn, she would not be alive today without blood donations, her mother said Wednesday.
Kinzie Frey was diagnosed with stage-four, high risk neuroblastoma in July of 2015. Kinzie’s doctor immediately began an aggressive treatment protocol often referred to as “kitchen sink” to fight the cancer and prevent it from returning.
"If it weren't for the simple fact of blood donation, none of that stuff would matter. She's alive today because of the gift of blood," said Frey's mother, Holly Bosse.
After her second round of chemo she had a procedure done to remove some of her stem cells which were preserved and given back to her during two stem cell transplants. Each transplant required a month in the hospital and strict precautions that prevented her from returning to school or going into public places.
Kinzie developed a late complication from the stem-cell transplant that caused her body to breakdown blood cells at an alarming rate and required numerous blood and platelet transfusions.
In the last 18 months, Kinzie has received 46 red blood cell transfusions and 72 platelet transfusions.
“If it weren't for the generosity of blood donors Kinzie wouldn't be here with us today,” her mother Holly Bosse said. “Those blood donations aren’t only a gift to Kinzie but to our family, friends and supporters. They are also a reminder to give for the benefit of others.”