2-Year-Old Meets the Dozens of Strangers Who Saved Her Life by Donating Blood

- JOHANNA LI

It took the generosity of 71 strangers to save 2-year-old Skye’s life.

Baby Skye, of Ventura, Calif., would have died had it not been for the constant blood donations from kindhearted strangers around the state.

In a rare opportunity, the toddler and her parents, Talia and Kevin Savern-McCormick, had the chance to meet 24 of the many people that helped save her life.

“You helped save my daughter’s life,” Talia told those who attended the special luncheon organized by the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center. “Skye’s heart pumps a little bit of you inside her little body. The words ‘Thank you’ do not come close to the gratitude that we feel.”

Skye was born with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, a rare cancer that only affects 1 in 1 million children. Just weeks later, she was diagnosed with a second cancer — lymphoma — in her eyelid.

Doctors only gave her a 10 percent chance of survival.

She spent the first 10 months of her life in the hospital, and underwent several rounds of chemotherapy, surgery and bone marrow transplants, for which she needed frequent blood and platelet transfusions.

“At the worst times, actually, she could even need two transfusions a day because she wasn’t making her own cells,” Dr. Satiro De Oliveria explained.

Luckily, donors of all ages and all ethnicities, living all over the state, stepped up to give blood for Skye.

Normally, confidentiality does not allow donors and patients to meet, but UCLA Blood and Platelet Center made an exception for little Skye.

“For a little girl who is, I think, 2 years old to be able to benefit from all of our contribution to her through our blood donations is just amazing,” donor Miles Salinas said. “[She’s] able to see the world past her second birthday.”

Donor Ana Martinez added, “This is so exciting to be able to meet the person.”

Skye was discharged last May and is in remission from both cancers. She will turn 3 in March.

Her mom said that she hopes her story will inspire others make the life-saving donations.

“Please continue donating and find someone to donate with you and encourage people who haven’t done it to give it a try,” Talia told the audience. “When you donate, think of Skye and how you helped save her life and how you pumped life into her body and how you pumped hope into her family.”

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