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Thanks to countless blood donors, Avari was able to celebrate a huge milestone in her ongoing battle with a rare blood disorder.

Recently, Avari received her 100th blood transfusion. A blood transfusion milestone may not seem like a cause for celebration, but for Avari and her family, each transfusion is a precious gift from donors like you that has kept her alive.

A few weeks after Avari was born, she had a cough and fever that wouldn’t go away. Although their family doctor reassured her parents and told them not to worry, he recommended a complete blood count just to be sure.

Avari’s test results revealed a very low blood count. She was sent to the children’s hospital for admission and her first blood transfusion. Her parents met with a hematologist to discuss a possible diagnosis. At 5 weeks old, they received the devastating news: Avari was born with Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA), a rare blood disorder that prevents her body from producing red blood cells.

Avari’s doctors put her on a course of transfusion therapy. She gets blood tests every three to four weeks, and if her blood counts are low, the family makes the 2 1/2-hour drive to the children’s hospital for a red cell transfusion. “Avari lives on borrowed blood,” her mom Anya said. “I am so thankful for blood donors. If people didn’t give regularly, my daughter might not be here today.”

The regular lab and hospital visits will continue, with more monitoring, testing and transfusions in her future. “Our whole family has been impacted by Avari’s diagnosis,” Anya said. “Even my oldest daughter sometimes pretends that her dolls have DBA.”

“She can usually go three to five weeks in between trips to the hospital. I’m so grateful to the blood donors who have kept my angel alive. Without their selfless acts of kindness, I would not be able to watch her grow.” Avari’s life is very busy. In addition to school, she enjoys music and ballet classes. Her favorite color is green, she adores tigers and loves playing with the family’s adopted rescue dog, Daphne! Her mom tells us that Avari makes new friends wherever she goes and loves to sing songs nearly every moment of her life. “Even on hard days, she is still the most loving, happiest child you’ll ever meet.”

When Avari grows up, she wants to be a chef and own her own restaurant. According to Anya, not just a bakery, but a restaurant with “good food.”

Stories like Avari’s are a potent reminder of the impact of each blood donation . Thank you for being a blood donor.

Article published for the Vital Donor newsletter.