Not many kids have marked the kind of anniversary that Adelyn Troutman of Ahwatukee recently did.
She endured her 55th blood transfusion.
Considering that she’s not yet 4, it’s a tough anniversary to get your arms around.
On this day – when the nation is marking one of America’s greatest tragedies with acts of giving back – Addy’s parents are calling on friends, neighbors and strangers to do that in a special way this weekend, just as they have twice a year for the last few years.
Kami and Matt Troutman have slated their semiannual blood drive in Addy’s honor 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at Desert Foothills United Methodist Church, 2156 E. Liberty Lane, Ahwatukee. Appointments can be scheduled at bloodhero.com/index.cfm.
Adelyn has a rare blood disease that has required month blood transfusions practically her entire young life and her parents hold blood drives twice a year in recognition of the constant need for blood.
Noting donors “can save up to three people’s lives with a single blood donation,” Adelyn’s mother Kami Troutman said, “So many people rely on blood donations to stay alive, Adelyn is just one of millions that are able to live their life because of you.”
Nearly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S. and 4.5 million Americans would die each year without life-saving blood transfusions. Approximately 32,000 pints of blood are used each day in the United States and just one pint of donated blood can help save as many as three people’s lives.
In Arizona, 500 donors are needed daily to meet the transfusion requirements of our hospital patients. Only 3 percent of eligible blood donors in Arizona even attempt to donate blood, Matt Troutman noted.
The problem is getting worse.
“There is a big need right now for blood donations and it ties to our blood drive as we try to help meet that need,” said Addy’s father, Matt Trautman.
He noted that Vitalant, formerly called United Blood Services, serves 37 hospitals and get approximately 500 orders for blood a day.
“There is less than 1 day supply of certain blood types on the shelf at Vitalant,” he said. “Blood often has to be shuffled from one hospital to another to meet the immediate need. The real fear is that if we have a crisis or emergency like the shootings you see all over the country, there will simply not be enough blood to help everyone.
While our blood drive is growing every year,” he said, “here is a huge immediate need for blood donations. People’s donations will help an immediate need as well as support an incredible event.”
Adelyn needs transfusions every three to four weeks because her little body can’t produce a single red blood cell. The average body makes about 2 to 3 million red blood cells a second.
The blood drive is held in a building shared by the church and the Village Preschool in Ahwatukee, where director Denise Savoy “has been instrumental in helping us spread the word and set up the blood drives,” Matt said.
Meanwhile, Addy remains a fighter. For a while, her iron levels were getting dangerously high as a result of the monthly transfusions but now “overall Adelyn has been doing wonderful,” he said.
“She has been responding well to the iron chelation medication, which is very important, as the leading cause of death in patients that receive chronic blood transfusions as often as Addy is iron overload, which causes liver and heart failure with very little warning,” Matt explained.
“She has some MRI’s coming up this month where they will check her iron levels in both her heart and liver. As far as the transfusions go, everything has been great, she receives her blood quicker now that she’s a little bigger and able to handle the increased flow.
“She continues to get more blood as she gets bigger and soon she will require two units rather than just one.”
Besides iron levels, the Troutmans also have to watch Addy’s vitamin D level – which “has been gradually diminishing and that was another area of concern coming out of her annual screenings,” her father said.
“Now, in addition to the iron chelation medication, she takes an adult dosage of vitamin D. The ironic thing is that the iron medication she has to take is what reduces her vitamin D levels, requiring her to take additional supplements. It’s a balancing act.
“Overall, we are very happy with her treatment, the care she has at PCH and the support she always receives from the community. It is all very positive.”
Moreover, he added, Addy’s “following has increased tremendously – which we are very happy about as it is getting more people out to donate blood.”
The Troutmans also are selling T-shirts at cost to get the word out about the importance of being a blood donor.
“It is such an easy thing to do and I don’t think people realize the impact they can have by donating a few minutes of their day,” he said. “We have surpassed our donation goals at each of our blood drives thus far and expect to do so again.”