Family holds blood donation drive party for daughter's 1st
EVERETT - One year ago, Jen and Jon Campbell had everything prepared to bring their first daughter into the world May 17.
The Everett couple prepared a nursery, and Jen joked she had Jon move the crib about 30 times to get the perfect position.
Jen went through what one doctor said was a “perfect” pregnancy, but after giving birth it became clear her daughter Hannah Mae faced a condition that could kill her. In the following weeks, doctors told her four times Hannah wouldn’t make it through the night.
“There’s not a chapter in the ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ book for this,” Jen said last week.
Hannah was diagnosed with diffuse rhabdomyomatosis, a heart condition that basically is a growing benign tumor from inside the heart.
It’s such a rare condition, only three other documented cases exist and all the infants died soon after birth.
It took a heart transplant Sept. 24 to save her life. Jen remembers the day the call came and the nurse said: “You might have to change your plans today … Hannah’s getting her heart today.”
Jen dropped to the floor, crying.
It was her son Cavan’s birthday that day. Cavan and his dad were going to go to the Seahawks Monday Night Football game that night.
For his birthday wish, he asked for his sister to get a heart. His godfather took him and brother Bryce to the game.
Hannah was the third of four consecutive pediatric heart transplants in five days at Children’s Hospital. Her hospital roommate, now Hannah’s friend, was a girl from Mukilteo who was the fourth.
Her heart came from a 13-month-old boy. The Campbell’s don’t know his name, but they have written to his mother.
Sept. 24 provokes mixed feelings for Jen. “For her to go through this, losing a son but saving my daughter…” she said, choking up.
“We knew a child had to die for Hannah. We called him Hannah’s angel,” Jen said.
Hannah was eligible for his heart because her tumor grew Hannah’s chest cavity to the size of a grapefruit.
Hannah underwent 59 blood transfusions and spent 169 days at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She was rushed to Seattle Children’s intensive care unit right after being born at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett’s Pavilion for Women and Children.
These days, Hannah is doing well. She still needs a feeding tube and will always have to take daily anti-rejection medications.
To celebrate her first birthday, her family and friends are holding an all-day blood donation drive and organ donation awareness event to support the Puget Sound Blood Center.
The event will be at the family’s church Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 215 W. Mukilteo Blvd., Friday, May 17 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The family’s goal is to get 169 blood donations to represent the 169 days Hannah was in the hospital.
It’s recommended to call the church ahead to schedule a blood donation time to avoid waiting, said Jen’s friend Nancy Gilmore, who is setting up the blood drive.
The event includes a bouncy house, face painting and games.
It’s important for parents to think about organ donation early, Gilmore said. It’s tragic to have to make that decision when something bad happens.
Every event like this blood drive helps, Puget Sound Blood Center spokesman Dave Larsen said.
The Puget Sound Blood Center’s collection rates are running about 10 percent lower than needed, Larsen said last week. Regionally, the centers collect 1,900 units of blood daily.
One donation unit of blood, about a pint, can be transfused into up to four infants, or up to three adults, Larsen said.
“You could save three lives,” Larsen said.
Hannah’s case is now being studied by the cardiologists who saved her life. One of them, pediatric cardiologist Dr. Sabrina Law, presented her findings at a cardiologist’s convention in Montreal last month.
There are two Puget Sound Blood Centers in Snohomish County. The center in Everett is at 2703 Oakes Ave.
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