7-Year-Old Boy With Cancer In Desperate Need Of Donors

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A 7-year-old boy from San Antonio with bone marrow cancer is in desperate need of blood.

The problem is, his blood type is extremely rare.

Dev Reddy has been in the ICU for several weeks.

The boy was diagnosed in July with acute childhood leukemia.

What’s making Dev’s battle even more complicated is that he has a blood type of O-negative, which only about 7 percent of the population have, which is why the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is holding a 2-day blood drive in his honor.

“He can donate to anybody, but he can only receive that specific type of blood, and that’s what makes it even more difficult, is that’s only 7 percent of the population,” said Priya Gupta, a family friend.

Dev has used over 330 blood products since his diagnosis, officials said.

About 30 family friends have formed Team Dev to assist the first-grader and his family.

The staff at the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center first learned about Dev in November, when members of Team Dev came in for his mother’s birthday, wearing custom shirts in green, his favorite color.

Staff members worked with Dev’s team in order to organize the blood drive, which is being held from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the Center’s pavilion at 6211 IH-10 West.

Posters were set up in doctor’s offices all across San Antonio promoting the blood drive.

“Putting that in the forefront, letting people know and bringing awareness of the importance of O-negative blood donors, blood donations, is crucial,” said Roger Ruiz, of South Texas Blood and Tissue Center.

This time of year, donations are historically low.

“Giving blood is one of the most selfless things we can do, and it’s one of the easiest things we can do,” Gupta said.

Donors are also able to visit seven donor rooms in San Antonio or New Braunfels. Click here for the locations.

USAA is also hosting a blood drive in Dev’s honor through until Friday.

Leukemia in children

Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells. These abnormal and defective white cells crowd the bone marrow and flood the bloodstream.

As leukemia progresses, the cancer interferes with the body’s production of other types of blood cells, including red blood cells and platelets. This results in anemia (low numbers of red cells) and bleeding problems, in addition to the increased risk of infection caused by white cell abnormalities.

Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children and teens.

With proper treatment though, most children with leukemia will be free of the disease without it coming back.

Symptoms of leukaemia in children include:

  • Fatigue or pale skin
  • Anemia
  • Infections and fever
  • Easy bleeding or bruising, experiencing frequent nosebleeds, or bleeding for an unusually long time after even a minor cut, because leukaemia destroys the bone marrow’s ability to produce clot-forming platelets.
  • Extreme fatigue or weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Swelling in the abdomen, face, arms, underarms, sides of neck, or groin (swollen lymph nodes)
  • Swelling above the collar bone
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Headaches, seizures, balance problems, or abnormal vision
  • Vomiting
  • Rashes
  • Gum problems

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