JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Four-year-old Corbyn Cammilleri would not be alive today if it were not for the blood donations of complete strangers.
"They were pretty sure it was leukemia. It was the worst experience ever being in there. He was 14 months old in his little hospital gown and diaper and just not knowing but something was majorly wrong," said Lynzie Cammilleri, Corbyn's mom.
Corbyn was diagnosed with beta-thalassemia major
. It's a rare blood disease that prevents his body from creating red blood cells.
To maintain healthy levels of hemoglobin, Corbyn has to get a blood transfusion every three weeks through a surgically-implanted port located right by his ribs.
"We really do rely on strangers to keep him alive," said Joe Cammilleri, Corbyn's dad.
In Northeast Florida alone, centers like The Blood Alliance
frequently report blood shortages. That's because only 5 percent of those who can donate actually do.
Patients like Corbyn are not the only ones that benefit from blood donations. One pint of blood can help save the life of someone who has been in a car crash or even a cancer patient.
For the Cammilleri family, blood transfusions are not only a treatment but a lifeline so their child can live to see another day.
"It's a painless process and you never know sometimes whose life you're touching," said Lynzie Cammilleri.
Tomorrow ,The Blood Alliance kicks off its 18th annual "Gift of Life" blood drive from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at EverBank Field.
Contact The Blood Alliance
online to make a donation, or call 1-888-998-2243