At three months old, Bailey Phillips has had 40 blood transfusions and she will need dozens more before she’s big enough to crawl.
When Bailey was in the womb, her mother Kristen contracted a virus called cytomegalovirus. CMV is a common and usually symptomless illness, but it can cause serious health problems in babies infected before birth: congenital cytomegalovirus.
On August 23, 2013 Bailey was born in Brandon, Man., and airlifted to Winnipeg, where she received her first blood transfusion. Bailey hasn’t been home from the hospital since.
"It’s been an emotional roller coaster," Kristen Phillips said over webcam from an isolation unit at Health Sciences Centre. "From finding out your daughter has a virus that I gave her, to finding out you have to go on anti-viral medication, and to have blood transfusions on a regular basis."
The virus has a severe effect on Bailey’s bone marrow and she needs a transfusion every three days to live.
When it was time for Bailey’s 39th transfusion last week, the blood bank was empty. Bailey had to wait until someone with her blood type made a donation.
"So that’s when it really hits home," Phillips said. "You take it for granted that the blood is just there."
Bailey needs a specific type of blood product called platelets. It takes five donations of platelets for just one of Bailey’s transfusions.
"Without people donating blood, Bailey wouldn’t be here," Phillips said. She's asking people to donate blood in Bailey’s honour.
During the holidays the number of donations Canadian Blood Services collects tends to drop, while the need increases. More than 5,700 blood donations are needed now in Manitoba and 75,000 across Canada, Canadian Blood Services officials said.
To donate you can call 1-888-2 Donate (1-888-236-283) or go online at www.blood.ca to book an appointment.