Adelyn Troutman must have a blood transfusion every month. (Special to AFN)

Matt and Kami Troutman of Ahwatukee have had no small share of challenges keeping their daughter Adelyn a happy and healthy 4-year-old.

Adelyn herself has had those challenges as well, forced since birth to get a blood transfusion every month because of a rare blood disorder.

Now, the quickly accelerating COVID-19 alarm has jeopardized the Troutman’s effort to give back to the community for all it has done to keep Adelyn alive.

Twice a year, the Troutmans hold blood drives because they know from first-hand experience that an adequate supply of blood is critical to saving the lives of untold thousands in the Valley.

And they’re concerned that this month’s drive – 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. March 28 at Desert Foothills United Methodist Church, 2156 E. Liberty Lane, Ahwatukee – will be hampered by virus fears, which the Red Cross says are unfounded for donors.

This months’ drive will be the sixth that the Troutmans have held and they’ve seen each one has attracted a successively larger number of donors.

“The Desert Foothills United Methodist Church has been an amazing partner in this, allowing us to use their space and it is home for our drive and donors feel that when they walk through the doors,” Matt said.

“We have added a bloodmobile to accommodate the number of donors we have. This has been at our last two drives and has helped tremendously with the flow, getting people in and out,” he said, adding 194 donors gave blood during last fall’s drive.

Matt and Kami are hoping that virus mania won’t deter people – not so just for their daughter’s sake but for the sake of anyone who depends on the goodwill of others to stay alive.

“To date we have saved over 1,500 lives and it’s thanks to Adelyn’s courage, her amazing supporters including local businesses and especially to the donors that come out drive after drive,” Matt added.

“As far as the coronavirus, we are worried about the impact overall, not particularly our drive but how the overall impact of the ‘scare’ will keep people from donating blood,” he said.

“It’s a mass panic and people hopefully will still realize the importance of blood donations. I believe it will have an impact on our drive, and I hope that it doesn’t, but our message would be that blood donations are still very much needed and that donating blood has no correlation with this coronavirus.”

Vitalant and other blood centers nationwide are urging healthy individuals to donate blood – and organizations to maintain scheduled blood drives.

Blood centers have always required individuals to be in good health to donate blood, Vitalant noted, and the blood collection process follows policies established by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure the health and safety of donors and patients. 

“Hospitals will be extremely challenged if COVID-19 infections increase. The last thing we want them worrying about is having enough blood for trauma victims and cancer patients. That’s why it’s imperative that healthy individuals donate blood at drives and blood donation sites now,” said Dr. Ralph Vassallo, Vitalant’s chief medical and scientific officer, adding:

Noting that giving blood has no impact on a donor’s immune system, Vassallo said, “Due to the nature of the virus, it is highly unlikely that it can be transmitted through blood transfusions.”

 Blood collection workers wear gloves, wipe any area touched by donors after every donation, use sterile collection sets for each donation, prepare a donor’s arm with aseptic scrub and conduct mini-physicals to ensure donors are healthy and well on day of donation.

Vitalant also having staff change gloves after each donation, is using enhanced disinfecting equipment as well as providing hand sanitizer throughout an appointment and checking temperature for the slightest sign of a fever.

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 donors in Arizona even attempt to donate blood, Matt has noted in the past.

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.

Additionally, over the past few years, doctors also have had to monitor her blood’s iron content, which increases after each transfusion.

“She has been doing phenomenal with her treatments,” her father said. “Her strength and courage continue to amaze us and inspire others. As much as you would hate for something like this to happen to one of your kids, we, in a way, feel very fortunate as this has turned into something positive from the way she shows us how to be brave and thankful to even the existence of these blood drives that save so many lives.”

Her plight also has generated a kind of fan club at Monte Vista Elementary where her older brother goes to school.

Staff and students like Austin Irvine, Marcus Perea, Adelyn’s big brother Ethan and Jack Dixon wearing Adelyn’s Cure shirts on her transfusion days as a show of support. 

“It’s a pretty cool thing that keeps growing, every year more and more join in on it,” Matt said.

 Adelyn’s iron-reduction medication has been increased to keep up with the high iron levels of the transfused blood, but her parents are upbeat. 

“We are very fortunate that she is healthy and happy and as long as people keep donating blood, she will be able to continue to live life to the fullest,” he said.

Added Vassallo: “Sick hospital patients rely on blood donors – there is no other source for blood. We need healthy individuals to donate blood, while following guidance from the CDC and other agencies.”

To schedule an appointment:

Information: Kami Troutman on Facebook  or or 480-246-6332.

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