On July 8, the Ballard Boys & Girls Club will host a blood and donor drive to support the Cryans, a Ballard family. Two years ago, Louisa had a stem cell transplant for her leukemia, and now her father, Sean, needs the same procedure to cure his Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a cancer of the bone marrow.
Sean Cryan in his biking t-shirt
The Cryans are unable to receive donations from siblings or other relatives because of an underlying blood condition, but have been able to find matches from donors, according to Sean Cryan. Cryan says getting on the donor roll is easy, all that’s needed is a questionnaire and a cheek swab to get genetic material. From that, tests can be done to get information ready when the need arises for donors. The age limits are 18 t0 60, and the whole process usually takes about half an hour. No advance sign up is necessary.
To give blood, you must sign up in advance online. You must be 16 or older to give blood, with a permission form from parents if the donor is 16 or 17. Donors should allow an hour for the process, and should bring juice and something to eat to get energy levels back to normal afterward.
Cryan says when his daughter Louisa was undergoing her treatment, she used a total of 69 units of blood products. “Each donation is divided into three units, so each donor can help save three lives! Summer is the slow season for blood donations, but the fast season for injuries requiring blood, so this is a great opportunity to donate while the need is great!”