Aug 4, 2015 6:31 PM
The annual "Summer Classic Blood Drive" took place last week at the Chico and Redding Bloodsource Donor Centers. Action News Now Chief Photographer Rick Carhart has the story of a little girl who has an extremely rare disease and is alive today thanks to multiple blood transfusions.
Meet Kinsley McCullough, an energetic, happy 22-month old.
Kinsley's Mom Caylin says, "She plays rough, she's funny... probably about a month ago she did a front flip off the couch and I said "no Kinsley!" and she just lands on her knees and says "wheeee"."
Looking at her, you would never know there was anything wrong. Even her parents couldn't see any obvious signs of a problem.
Caylin says, "we just thought that she was a porcelain white baby... she's really energetic, so we didn't realize, but once she got the transfusion her energy tripled, but she's energetic anyway."
When Kinsley was tested at 10 months, her hemoglobin count was half what it should have been.
Caylin says, "so we went that day to get a blood transfusion."
When her test results came back, she was diagnosed with "Diamond Blackfan Anemia", a condition causing her bone marrow to not produce enough red blood cells.
Kinsley's Dad Matthew says, "straight out of the gate you're already nervous with a new baby, thinking everything should be normal, and then all these issues start popping up."
The disease, which only has about 800 known cases worldwide, often leads to other abnormalities. Kinsley also has "Radial Aplasia", where one of the bones in her forearm is shorter than normal. And she has already had surgery to remove her thumbs.
Caylin says, "it's hard on us, it's hard on her, it's hard on the nurses. The nurses are so great about it I can't imagine."
For now, Kinsley is taking steroids to make her body create the blood cells she needs to deliver oxygen to her organs, but when that is no longer an option, blood transfusions will be needed every 5 to 8 weeks.
Matthew says, "you never really think this is going to save someone's life or it's really going to affect somebody, but we're first hand... without people donating blood she would have died a long time ago."
Her four-year-old brother Colton is a big help.
Caylin says, "he tells her it's ok sister it'll be ok and she goes with her when she gets her blood drawn, so as a family it's made us stronger in a way."
The McCullough's make it a point to enjoy life, and make each day positive.
Matthew says, "as long as she's happy and she's having fun, she doesn't know that this is any different from any other person's life."
Caylin says, "my hopes are that she grows up to be a happy healthy adult."
As long as there are people donating blood, this young family will keep living by faith.
The Bloodsource Donation Center in Chico is open Monday through Saturday, and the Redding location is open Monday-Friday.