Blood and Platelet Donors Needed Posted by Farell Diamond
In April, Toby Pannone, a wonderful, smart, engaged 3 1/2 year old boy was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a very rare pediatric cancer. He is in the midst of a very long, grueling treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He has just finished his fourth cycle of chemotherapy, and he had surgery at the end of June to remove his tumor. After his sixth cycle of chemo, he will move on to another phase of treatment which includes regular, painful injections and blood and platelet transfusions. The total length of his treatment will be at least 18 months.
Toby is a great kid. He tells jokes, loves trains of all sorts, adores riding the subway, has a great mischievous smile. He has approached every moment of his ordeal with grace and bravery - rarely complaining, finding amazing ways of playing, making connections and surviving what he is being asked to deal with. He chats with his doctors and nurses and loves the visits he has with his teachers, both at home and in the hospital. It's always important to remember that Toby is so much more than his disease.
Donating blood and platelets is perhaps the most concrete way that most people can participate directly in helping to save Toby's life. For the next six months, he is likely to need 2-3 units of blood and the same amount of platelets per week. Donations must be done at Sloan Kettering (First ave between 67th and 68th sts). They will accept blood of any type, and the Donor Room is open seven days a week. They will provide free parking for donors at the garage at 66th and York. Donating blood takes about an hour, donating platelets takes about 2 1/2 hours. There are certain restrictions about who can give blood, based upon questions of living or traveling abroad to certain places, or low iron levels. Any donations that are not used by Toby will be put into the general blood supply in the hospital, often going to other pediatric patients.
More information can be found on eligibility at www.mskcc.org/blooddonations. To make an appointment to donate, call Mary Thomas at 212-639-3335 or the Donor Room at 212-639-7648. Make sure to tell the person who gives you the appointment that you are donating for Toby Pannone.
For more information about Toby go to Toby's blog: www.tobypannone.blogspot.com.
Thank you in advance for any help you can give Toby and his family.