I received this email from a friend:
Dear Family & Friends:
I write with a heavy heart to request your help for blood and platelet donations. My 5 year old son, Eitan, was just diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma. Eitan is a deliberate and energetic boy. He recently got his first karate lesson. He makes up karate moves all the time (and tries them out on me often). Eitan plays soccer and was vigilant about protecting his team’s goal this season. For some reason, he’s really taken to the Giants, likes to watch football Sunday afternoons, and owns a fairly tight spiral. He’s truly delicious.
Only about 300 kids are afflicted with his form of cancer annually nationwide. His specific presentation was fairly unusual, and some of the busiest pediatric oncologists in the “rhabdo” community have not seen a case quite like Eitan’s. He has just begun an intensive chemotherapy regimen and is going to need transfusions with blood and platelets periodically. Additionally, Eitan’s blood type is O negative, which is not very common and precludes him from many would-be donors.
Eitan may receive packed red blood cells from people with blood type O negative, and he may receive platelets from people with A neg, B neg, AB neg, or O neg blood types. Donations must be made at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where Eitan is being treated, by appointment. I recognize that many of you do not live in the New York Metro area, though I ask you to consider paying a visit to the blood bank at MSKCC if you plan to be in the vicinity over the course of the next year.
If your blood type is negative anything, and particularly if it is O negative, kindly forward your name to David Samuel so that he may keep you on a revolving roster. If you don’t know your blood type, please speak with David Samuel about coordinating a visit to the MSKCC blood bank for a potential blood donation. Donations not used by Eitan will be released to other cancer victims at MSKCC, many of whom are children. Direct relatives of Eitan are not allowed to donate on his behalf because of medical reasons, though in an act of solidarity, all of Eitan’s close adult relatives will donate periodically to the MSKCC blood bank for the benefit of others. (Incidentally, in their own acts of solidarity, big sister Keren (10) accompanied Eitan during a chem o treatment this weekend, and big brother Yoni (8) got a crew cut like Eitan – Keren and Yoni thought of these things on their own.)
The donation of packed red blood cells takes an hour and may be stored for 30 days. The donation of platelets takes 2 ½ hours and may be stored for five days, two of which are used for testing. Your effort will help save my son’s life, and if not Eitan’s, another cancer victim. We are optimistic about Eitan’s recovery, however, it is imperative that these blood products be available to him.
Again, kindly coordinate your efforts to donate blood on Eitan’s behalf with David Samuel for purposes of maintaining a donor roster:
To schedule an appointment to donate, please CALL:
Joe Licata, Manager of the Blood Donor Program @ MSKCC, 212-639-8177
Or the Blood Donor Room 212-639-7648
The Blood Donor Room is open every day:
Fri Sat Sun Mon 8:30AM – 3:00PM
Tue Wed Thur 8:30AM – 7:00PM
1250 First Avenue (between 67th and 68th streets), NYC – Schwartz Building Lobby
Free Parking is available for donors at the MSKCC garage: 433 East 66th Street, corner of York Avenue
For complete information about donor eligibility and the donation process for blood and platelets, visit http://www.mskcc.org/blooddonations