Give for Texans – Aaron’s Story
Donors make a difference during family’s medical emergency
A family vacation turned into an emergency trip to the hospital and a surprise diagnosis for North Texas teen Aaron Parrill. His mother, Shelly Parrill, shared their unexpected experience and the vital contributions from blood donors.
During a visit to Colorado last summer, Aaron suddenly began having severe nosebleeds. When the bleeding did not stop, his family took him to a nearby ER.
“The doctor checked his blood counts and suspected he had leukemia,” Shelly said.
Aaron was then admitted to a local hospital. His blood level was dangerously low, so the medical team started giving him platelets, which help stop bleeding, and red blood cells to replenish his system. Aaron also developed a fever and was started on antibiotics.
Though the following day was July 4, it was far from a holiday for the Parrills. On that day, the doctor ordered a bone marrow biopsy; while waiting for the results, Aaron received more platelets to fight blood loss.
On July 5, Aaron was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a rare form of myeloid leukemia. With APL, a cancerous change takes place in marrow cells that normally form certain blood cells – red cells, some types of white cells, and platelets. It accounts for roughly 10 – 15% of all U.S. adult myeloid leukemia cases diagnosed each year.
Because Aaron was immunocompromised at the time and unable to travel, the Parrills stayed in Colorado as cancer treatments began. Aaron received blood products every two to three days for nearly a month, Shelly said.
On Aug. 4, the family was able to return home to North Texas and later learned Aaron’s leukemia is in remission.
He will continue therapy locally through this April, as he completes his senior year of high school.
“Aaron has had such a positive attitude through this process,” Shelly said. “We are thrilled he is doing so well, and know God has a plan for him and watched over him during his most sick times.”
The family’s place of worship held a blood drive in honor of Aaron and to help with ongoing community blood supply needs. Shelly noted that nearly every donor appointment was filled for the North Richland Hills Baptist Church blood drive, with more than 40 people presenting to donate blood.
To share the Parrills’ gratitude, Shelly and a neighbor created T-shirts thanking donors for saving her son’s life.
“If my son had not received his transfusions, he would no longer be with us,” Shelly said. “Thank you, Carter Blood Care, for your mission and for saving so many lives, and thank you to everyone who has donated to save my son’s life and the lives of so many others.”