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Young blood recipient thanks donors personally

By Tiffany Sertich | JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Support Center | Sept. 23, 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

The Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Exceptional Family Member Program and the Armed Services Blood Program hosted a blood drive Sept. 19 at the Military & Family Readiness Center to support the military community at Brooke Army Medical Center who need blood transfusions for blood cancer and blood-related illnesses.

A young recipient of blood transfusions at BAMC took it upon himself to personally thank those who turned out for giving the gift of life.

Jacob French, age 6, was diagnosed with G6PD deficiency within 12 hours of his birth. According to KidsHealth.org, G6PD deficiency is a genetic disorder that most often affects males. It happens when the body doesn't have enough of an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, or G6PD. This enzyme helps red blood cells work and protects them from substances in the blood that could harm them.

The severity of Jacob’s condition is rare and he has had 12 blood transfusion. Without blood donors, he might not be here today.

“He’s used to seeing the blood go in, not come out,” said Timothy French, Jacob’s father. “We wanted to take the moment to say thank you, this was actually his idea to come out to the blood drive and say thanks for all the help and support he’s received.”

The blood drive also highlighted September as Blood Cancer Awareness Month. A total of 16 pints of blood were accepted.

In August 2019 alone, 222 patients used 1,000 units of blood/blood products.  Donated blood has an expiration date of 42 days, and BAMC blood drives are needed daily to consistently meet the levels of blood required.