It’s been a tough road for 9 year-old Chad Grosch.
Diagnosed with leukemia in 2014, he appeared to have beaten the disease by spring of the following year.
“I kicked cancer’s butt!”, declared Chad as he took his last chemotherapy treatment in April of 2015. Chad and his family were exuberant.
But just months later, their worst of their fears were realized. Chad’s cancer had returned. When various treatment options were unsuccessful, the search began for a bone marrow donor match. After months of looking and waiting, a match was found. Chad underwent a bone marrow transplant at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans April 27.
With his immune system substantially weakened, the door to Chad’s hospital room remains closed to everyone except doctors, nurses and family.
“We’re just taking it minute by minute, day by day,” said Chad Grosch, little Chad’s father.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital continue monitor Chad closely, but are pleased with the transplant and his progress so far.
“A very good match for a bone marrow transplant, a very good donor, so we’re fortunate. Definitely not all kids have perfect matches like he did,” said Dr. Dana LeBlanc, pediatric hematologist-oncologist at Children’s Hospital.
“He’s doing pretty good. He’s pretty sick and kind of not feeling well, but right now we really need some platelets. That’s kind of the main thing that’s kind of happening to him at the moment,” added Chad’s father.
Nothing is more critical for Chad and kids like him recovering from bone marrow transplants than blood and blood platelets. Because of the intense chemotherapy leading up to the procedure, Chad cannot make his own platelets and red blood cells right now.
His survival depends on donors.
“They are a life and death issue. If he did not have platelets and blood, he would not survive. He could not survive,” said Dr. LeBlanc.
Keeping the shelves stocked with blood is a continuing challenge.
“We are extremely low especially with O-negative blood type, but also O-positive blood type, A-negative blood type, pretty much across the board,” said Paul Adams of The Blood Center in New Orleans.
Many of the racks at the Blood Center are empty right now, and blood platelets only have a shelf life of a few days.
“It doesn’t matter your blood type. If you’ve never donated with us, now is the time to come in. Now is when we need you more than ever,” said Adams.
It has been a roller coaster for little Chad and his family. After beating the disease once, Chad is now isolated and vulnerable, but battling again.
“He has to have those platelets to survive. It’s literally a life or death event,” emphasized Chad’s dad.
Part of the family’s prayer was answered when a bone marrow donor match was found and the transplant completed. Now the need is for donors to step up and give blood, the gift of life.
To donate, contact the Metairie Donor Center at (504) 887-2833 or the main office of The Blood Center at (504) 524-1322. For more information,log onto www.thebloodcenter.org.