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Date:12/4/2008

People with Rare Anemias, Blood Cancers Need You

NEW YORK, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As winter holidays fast approach, New York Blood Center (NYBC) calls upon the community to please set aside a time to donate blood. The holidays are a time when blood supply decreases while emergency needs remain the same. It is also a time when it becomes more difficult to find precise blood matches for those that are very sick.

December is also Aplastic Anemia Awareness Month. Aplastic anemia is a rare and serious condition where bone marrow does not produce enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets for the body. It can affect people of any age. People with severe or very severe cases are at risk for life-threatening infections or bleeding.

Patients with blood cancers and rare anemias are dependent upon transfusions of donated blood and platelets to keep them alive. Katelyn Rose Hubbell was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia at the age of four. She required platelet transfusions twice a month.

"Katelyn was kept alive by generous blood and platelet donors from all over..." said Mary Hubbell, Katelyn's mother, in her online blog. "We are very grateful to these kind and giving people."

Rafaelo Carone was diagnosed with leukemia just weeks before his third birthday. With a very rare blood type found in less than two percent of the population, his condition and need for blood became critical just days before Christmas, when blood donations and blood supply are down.

"Some very nice people, with a crazy hectic schedule of holiday shopping and visiting with family, thought of someone else, and they gave my son the gift of life," said Andrea Carone, Rafaelo's mother. "They made the time -- they took the time out of their schedules to give my son the most special gift that anyone can ever give on Christmas, and that was a
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SOURCE New York Blood Center
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