Blood donations help Hastings girl with bleeding disorder

Doctors diagnosed Bridget Fox, 6, with Immune thrombocytopenia purpura, or ITP, about a year...
Doctors diagnosed Bridget Fox, 6, with Immune thrombocytopenia purpura, or ITP, about a year ago during a kindergarten physical. The disorder causes excessive bleeding and bruising. (Source: Kelsey Dickeson, KSNB)(KSNB)
Published: Jan. 19, 2020 at 7:42 PM CST
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A young Hastings girl has a condition that makes your blood donations a crucial part of her life.

Doctors diagnosed Bridget Fox, 6, with Immune thrombocytopenia purpura, or ITP, about a year ago during a kindergarten physical. The disorder causes excessive bleeding and bruising.

"She's had eight different blood transfusions. One of them was a platelet transfusion. Then she received medication that has blood products in it," said Tabitha Fox, Bridget's mom.

When her platelets are low, Fox will get bruises on her body. If they're really low, she'll get a bloody nose that can last an hour.

At school Fox stays inside for recess and plays with a friend. That's because a head injury could cause a brain bleed.

"I get really tired when my platelets are low," Bridget Fox said.

Fox goes to a clinic once a week for the lab to draw blood samples. She also has to go to Mary Lanning and the Children's Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha for certain medications and treatments.

Fox said her daughter hasn't responded well to any treatment so far. She said Bridget's body will fight off platelets received during a transfusion. This leaves the family on a "roller coaster" ride as they constantly monitor Fox's platelet levels.

While these treatments haven't cured Fox, her mom said they've done a lot to steady her daughter's platelet levels so she can live a normal life, and do things other kids are doing.

"Unfortunately there are people out there such as Bridget who have these conditions you may never hear of, but the blood could save their lives," Tabitha Fox said.

The American Red Cross has announced a critical need for blood donors of all types, especially Type O.

Between Christmas and New Years, 500 blood drives were canceled around the country due to bad weather. But this doesn't stop the need. In Nebraska alone, the Red Cross collects 500 units of blood every day.

"Every two seconds, someone receives a blood transfusion in the U.S., but only three percent of the population gives on a consistent basis," said Jeremy Aupperlee, account manager for the Red Cross. "So that's why we really encourage people to give. You never know when you're going to need a blood transfusion, or a loved one."

When she goes in for blood draws or transfusions, Fox will often carry a stuffed unicorn or sport a dress and shoes with unicorns on them.

Tabitha Fox said when her daughter was first diagnosed, she told her she had "rare blood," to which Bridget replied, "rare like a unicorn?" And from there, the it stuck.

Fox said it's possible the disease could go away at some point. She said that could happen on its own, or with treatment. Fox said for now, they're hopeful for a cure to ITP.

Local4 will be hosting a blood drive from noon to 7 p.m. on February 25 across the Tri-Cities. You can sign up for one of three locations

.

Grand Island:

Calvary Lutheran Church, 1304 N. Custer St.

Hastings:

First St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 501 N. Burlington

Kearney:

Red Cross Chapter, 520 W. 48th St.