Eighteen years ago, Everett Dunkley returned from his honeymoon not feeling well and learned, only a few months later, he was facing a life-threatening leukemia diagnosis. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a rapidly advancing form of the blood cancer.
“And then our world just totally turned, [it] went from one [of] happiness and bliss to what’s going to happen next?” Everett recalled.
Doctors took immediate action.
“We went to the oncologist on December 2  and we went immediately to the hospital after getting the diagnosis,” said his wife Yasma. “We stayed in the hospital [through] January, February – I think, he was let out [in] February – but he went right back, [on] Valentine’s Day, of course.”
Dunkley said there were times when he had no energy to move, but, after a blood transfusion, he gained energy and was ready to take on another day. He said one of the reasons he fought so hard was because Yasma was pregnant at the time with their first son, Evan.
“I just had to live to see my son. After several rounds of intense chemo, radiation, numerous blood transfusions and platelets, and eventually a stem cell transplant from my brother, I am here and grateful to be able to share my story of hope with others. One of the reasons I am still here is because of the many blood transfusions I received through Carter BloodCare,” said Everett.
Those transfusions were possible because of generous blood donors – volunteers who care about others. There is no way to manufacture blood, but it is essential for hundreds of patients every day who face diagnoses like Everett’s, requiring transfusions. The blood supply must be on the shelf when it’s needed.
It is a Good Year
In spite of the lingering pandemic, 2021 is a significant and celebratory year for the Dunkleys. First son Evan graduated high school May 27 and is now enjoying freshman college life at Texas State University in San Marcos. Samuel is 15 and beginning his sophomore year in high school.
“I am happy to say, because of [blood donors], I have been able to see both sons grow into thriving young men. Watching them play basketball, baseball, being youth ushers at church and doing volunteer work in the community is a highlight of my life.
“Yasma and I will celebrate 19 years of marriage this October. We will never forget how [during] the first year of marriage, we depended on medical knowledge to help see us through,” said Everett.
Over the years, the Dunkleys have shared their story and thanked blood donors at Carter BloodCare’s special events. They also thank friends and others in their network for rolling up their sleeves to donate.
Donating blood saves lives or, as Everett said, “You’re not only saving lives, you’re saving families.”
Carter BloodCare is happy to share the latest in life’s milestones with the Dunkleys. When you donate blood, you give families in need – like the Dunkleys – a better future.