Tulsa Blood Drive In Honor Of Cancer Patient

Wednesday, April 8th 2009, 5:53 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Experts say fewer than 10 percent of eligible blood donors in the U.S. give blood.

Sometimes it is hard to get excited about a blood drive because people often don't know anyone who needs blood at the moment.

Twenty-month-old Pierce Phillips is learning about shapes. He's learned a great deal in the past seven months. He's had more medical procedures in that short time than most will ever have.

"He's had five rounds of high-dose chemo, 14 rounds of radiation," said Pierce's mother, Brandi Phillilps.

That was on top of three surgeries and 50 or so blood transfusions.

Pierce was diagnosed at 13 months with stage three high-risk neuroblastoma. It is relatively rare, but No. 2 in childhood cancers.

Doctors found a lump, and after a CT scan they knew. They settled on Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York for treatment.

A five-hour surgery got rid of the tumor. Like most guys who have under gone major surgery Pierce isn't shy about showing off his scar.

He goes back to New York every few weeks for treatment and for now it is all working. He has no evidence of the disease, but this kind of cancer is relentless.

"The problem with neuroblastoma isn't that they can't achieve remission," said Pierce's father, Scott Phillips. "It's that it has a 50 percent relapse rate in high risk cases."

Keeping it away is the issue. All the blood transfusions have helped replace blood cells and bone marrow damaged or destroyed by the chemotherapy.

The Red Cross is hosting a blood drive in his honor to in a way replace some of the blood he has used.           

The drive will be in the Sears Court at Woodland Hills Mall on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.