NEWS

90 IT workers donate blood for baby with deadly virus

12/06/2013 01:22 EST | Updated 02/05/2014 05:59 EST
A group of Winnipeggers has come together to help a three-month-old girl with a deadly virus.

90 employees of a Manitoba-based IT company, donated blood on Friday to help Bailey Phillips, a baby who has needed 39 blood transfusions since birth.

Bailey has congenital cytomegalovirus, a common virus that her mother, Kristen, was exposed to during birth.

Never being exposed to it before, Kristen wasn’t able to fight off the virus before it was passed onto Bailey.

“We’re now at day 106, and she started the medicine on day six, so she’s 100 days of medicine,” said Kristen. “Her bone marrow’s not showing any recovery, so basically every three days she needs a platelet transfusion.”

Bailey and her family live just outside of Brandon but have been staying at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg for treatment. Earlier this week, that hospital ran out of Bailey's blood type.

According to officials with Canadian Blood Services that's a common occurrence around the holidays.

“Everybody’s calendar fills up. Your family events, your friends – you might want to travel because it’s the holidays. So we know many of our regular donors are busy and people in general are distracted,” said Adrienne Silver, with the agency’s Winnipeg chapter.

That's why the agency has launched its Holiday Miracle Campaign, which aims to take more than 5,700 blood donations this month.

As for Bailey, employees of Epic Information Solutions have stepped up. Bailey's aunt works at the IT company, and 90 employees donated blood in the baby's honour on Friday.

Bailey now has the access to the blood she needs, and she's expected to remain in hospital for at least the next four months.

On Friday, the group of donors was able to have a video conference with Kristen and her baby, who are living in isolation to protect Bailey’s immune system.

Michelle Stanick was among the group who donated and got to cheer-on the three month old. She said now, the group is turning toward raising awareness for more donations.

“The important thing is for Bailey to live. She needs blood. We have to get that message out for people to go and donate,” said Stanick.

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