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Release of Likeness

“How do you thank someone for saving both of your children’s lives? My kids are living proof that blood donations are crucial. Without blood transfusions, they would not be here with us today.” —Julie Williams

We never know when our world will be turned upside down, when we will find ourselves depending on blood products to save our life or the life of a loved one. For Julie and Brandon Williams, they didn’t count on their kids getting cancer but they came to rely on the generous blood donations of others to keep them alive.

First it was Luke, at just eight months. Then his sister, Molly, as an active two-year-old toddler. When both siblings were diagnosed with a rare pediatric cancer—Myelodsplastic Syndrome/ Monosomy 7—almost daily blood transfusions sustained them through chemotherapy treatments, full-body radiation, and bone marrow transplants that saved their lives. As Julie Williams recalls, “Transfusions became a regular part of the day. In order to prepare Luke and Molly to successfully receive their bone marrow transplants, they had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation to rid their bodies of all the nasty cancer cells. Unfortunately, the good cells were killed in the process, too. That’s why they needed multiple transfusions of red blood cells and platelets, until their bodies were strong enough to make their own."

"Those blood products were the life-saving bridge their little bodies needed," Julie continued. "Without Memorial Blood Centers and the generosity of so many blood donors, we would have never been able to achieve our goal for Luke and Molly—to save their lives and find a cure from cancer for each of them.”

The Williams family also learned that sometimes a blood transfusion may be needed at the most unexpected times. When Luke was hospitalized with toxic shock syndrome, his treatment regimen included additional blood transfusions that proved vital to his recovery.

Yearly follow-ups for Luke and Molly are routine now, and will be for the rest of their lives. But every day they have together, the Williams family celebrates and finds plenty of ways to give back. Mom Julie, who began donating at a National Honor Society blood drive in high school, continues to give regularly through her work-sponsored blood drive. And the family advocates for blood donation through annual blood drives that honor Luke and Molly, and engage the community in giving the gift of life to others in need.

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