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Release of Likeness

The Nord family knows just how life changing blood donations can be as blood helped save little Caleb’s life when he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder.

CalebLife was good for parents Ann and Jeremy Nord—and big sister, Hannah—when Caleb was born. Happy and healthy, it was clear from the start that he had inherited his dad’s mellow personality and his mom’s patience. Then at 10 months old, Caleb’s health took an unexpected turn. He became ill with a fever, and everything changed.

For months, doctors worked to uncover Caleb’s underlying illness as they treated him for persistent fevers, closely monitoring inflammation in the brain and elevated white blood cells. When word finally came, the diagnosis was one-in-a-million: FHL-V (Familial Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis V), a very rare, potentially fatal immune system disorder.

“Doctors told us immediately that Caleb’s only chance of survival was a bone marrow transplant,” Ann Nord said.  “Along with chemotherapy, steroid treatments, and lots of blood transfusions, we knew it was going to be a long and painful road. And the first priority was finding the right match for the transplant. Fortunately, a marrow donor was found within about 90 days and on August 25, 2010 Caleb received his transplant.”

According to Ann, during Caleb’s treatment and months of recovery he received more blood products than she and Jeremy could keep track of. He depended on red cells and platelets to sustain his life as they waited for the right bone marrow match and continued weekly therapy long after the transplant.

“Jeremy and I had been blood donors before our experience with Caleb,” Ann added.  “But we had no idea how many people need blood every day—not just when a disaster hits.  Seeing an infusion room filled with 10 children and adults, all getting blood products of some type, and seeing more waiting for a chair to open up! It was a real eye opener for us. Now we give back to show our appreciation to the countless blood donors and Caleb’s marrow donor who helped save his life. Because of them he is happy and healthy again today.”

Every year on August 25th the Nord family celebrates Caleb’s Re-Birthday by hosting a blood and marrow donor drive. Thankful for the life-saving gifts given to Caleb, Ann is on a mission: to raise awareness so that people understand the need for blood and the urgency that exists every day. Ann wants to help ensure children and adults who need blood, get the blood they need when they need it.

Find out more about how you can help save the lives of infants, children, and adults through blood donation. Learn more at About Blood.