With a local blood drive just around the corner, now is the time to consider what a huge difference you can make in the lives of others. The American Red Cross is down over 50,000 pints of blood from the month of June, and those numbers are expected to continue throughout the summer months if more people do not consider the benefits of donating. The American Red Cross has an emergency need for blood and platelet donors of all types at this time.
It may be hard to believe that the blood donated can help at a local level in rural Nebraska, and many may believe that it is mostly needed in largely populated areas.
Brayden Kendall, age two, is here to prove otherwise. Brayden is the grandson of Arnold High School English teacher and librarian Debby Moninger, and the son of DyAnne Smith and Jamey Kendall. Brayden receives weekly infusions of a product made solely from the plasma that is donated through blood donations. These infusions have given Brayden the life that he has as well as the joys that all of his family members have experienced from watching, teaching, and helping Brayden through the first two years of his life.
DyAnne and Jamey were expecting twins and anxiously awaiting their arrival when DyAnne unexpectedly went into pre-term labor at 20 weeks that could not be stopped, and their twin boys, Ayden Michael and Jayden Matthew, passed away shortly after birth. The following year, DyAnne and Jamey found out they were expecting again.
The emotions and worries ran high throughout the pregnancy, and thoughts kept going back to the experience the year before. At 19 weeks when DyAnne started going into labor, the family felt they had no choice but to begin preparing for the same experience they had just endured. With the care of incredible medical staff, the labor was stopped and with extensive medical care DyAnne was able to continue her pregnancy until 34 weeks. Brayden Alexander Kendall was born Oct. 13, 2009, six weeks early and weighing four pounds 15 ounces when he left the hospital.
Brayden had a few minor struggles in the beginning, but everything was believed to be from being premature and that with time he would outgrow these complications.
As time went on, Brayden constantly continued to get sick, slept unusually large amounts of time, and began showing delays in speech and motor skills. Arnold Public School performed an Early Childhood Development evaluation to determine if a learning disability was appearing. The results came back that Brayden was behind already, but not far enough behind to qualify for any therapy.
As the parents continued to worry and question Brayden’s abnormal behaviors, they were continuously assured he would outgrow the problems and catch up when he was ready. DyAnne did not feel that she could just accept the “he will outgrow this” statement any longer, and chose to do research on physicians in Nebraska and found the Pediatric Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology clinic in Omaha.
She took all of the information to the physician and asked for a referral just to “ease her mind” and assure her that everything was fine with her son. After reviewing his chart, the Omaha physician was able to quickly get an appointment for Brayden and begin testing.
Jan. 4, 2012, DyAnne and Brayden headed back to Omaha to find out the results of the tests that had been done the month earlier. There had never been a time that the statements DyAnne was about to hear had crossed the couple’s minds. The doctor explained, “Brayden has Primary Immunodeficiency Disease (PIDD). His immune system is present, but it does not function and he will need to begin immediate treatments.”
Brayden was able to receive his first treatment with the hour and a half long infusion in early February of 2012. As Brayden’s weekly treatments continued, a whole new child emerged. Brayden began talking more and more, had the energy to stay awake and play, and no longer experienced the constant sickness that he previously experienced. For the first time in two years, Brayden experienced the life that all children should experience.
While there will continue to be “speed bumps” in the long road that Brayden has in front of him, his prognosis is improving more and more each day. One of the largest blessings they have, aside from the incredible support from family and friends, has been DyAnne’s job. She works for Walgreen’s Pharmacy in North Platte and is the Senior Pharmacy Technician.
Walgreens has been able to provide endless resources for Brayden’s condition, and continues to show their support and concern as the process continues. A Walgreen’s specialty pharmacy in Grand Island is able to provide the medication and supplies for the home infusions, and there is always someone available if there are any questions concerning the health and care of Brayden.
Even though he is only two, Brayden is quite the little fighter and has shown his strength. Unfortunately, the family has yet another worry. The American Red Cross is currently experiencing an extremely low number of blood donations.
We would like everyone to know how important these blood donations are and what a difference they can make to others, including those at a local level. Brayden would not have the life he has if it weren’t for those who are willing to take the time out of their day to donate blood.
Many people do not give blood simply because they were not asked or because they are not always sure of where this blood may go and why so much is needed. Patients, their families, and the American Red Cross eagerly ask each of you to please take some time out of your schedule to donate blood. The blood donated helps accident victims, cancer patients, burn patients, heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and many others with various medical conditions.
Please consider donating during the Wauneta blood drive and show that our community can make a difference in the lives of others. Always remember, blood donors do not mean the world to people like Brayden and his family, they mean their life.
Brayden Kendall, DyAnne Smith and Jamey Kendall