Editor’s note: The annual Telegram Saves Lives campaign runs until Oct. 20. As part of our efforts to encourage people to give blood, we’re running a series of letters from people whose lives were changed by blood donation. Lori and Keelyn Gallant of St. John’s submitted this one, written by Lori Gallant.
Growing up, I was always classified as a “bleeder.” I lived through my teenage years and early 20s with that label, but not knowing the severity of it.
At age 25 while living in Fort McMurray, Alta., my obstetrician-gynecologist realized that there was more to it. A call to Edmonton was made and I was placed in the care of one of the best hematologists in the province. Tests upon tests were performed, with abnormalities detected in my platelets, but no exact diagnosis.
Fast forward a couple of years to when I was 15 weeks’ pregnant with my oldest daughter. Severe back pain sent me to hospital where I was told that I had a large bleed in my placenta and was about to lose my child. I was airlifted to Edmonton and miraculously the bleed stopped. This happened another four or five times, and after a four-month stay in between the hospitals in Fort McMurray and Edmonton, my daughter was born healthy but six-and-a-half weeks’ premature.
Two years after that, under the watchful eye of specialists, I became pregnant again. This pregnancy went more smoothly than the first, but my youngest daughter was also born premature — 10-and-a-half weeks, to be exact. During the C-section, I required a platelet transfusion. My youngest daughter, Keelyn — known affectionately as Kiki — is now a petite eight-year-old. She has the ability to make anyone laugh, loves hockey and singing, but unfortunately also has a platelet coagulation disorder.
There’s still no exact diagnosis for either of us. We try to live each day to the fullest. For two full years I had to receive treatments weekly. Keelyn, thankfully, has only had to receive treatment a couple of times for severe cluster nosebleeds.
We cannot stress enough the importance of donating blood. Each year we have an annual blood drive clinic in St. John's and Bonavista.