In 2011, Anya and Todd welcomed their newborn daughter, Avari, to their family. A few weeks later, the baby had a cough and fever that wouldn’t go away. A visit to their family doctor in Flagstaff reassured them, but he recommended a complete blood count just to be sure.
Because her blood test results were so low, they were sent to Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH) for admission and Avari’s first blood transfusion. Anya and Todd met with a hematologist there to discuss a possible diagnosis. At seven weeks old, they received the news that Avari was born with Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA), a rare blood disorder that prevents her body from producing red blood cells.
Avari’s doctors put her on a course of transfusion therapy. She gets blood tests every three to four weeks and if her blood counts are low, she comes to Phoenix for a red cell transfusion.
“Avari lives on borrowed blood,” Anya said. “I am so thankful for blood donors. If people didn’t give regularly, my daughter might not be here today.”
So far, Avari has received 16 red cell transfusions. The family makes regular visits to the lab in Flagstaff along with follow up treatment at PCH, with more monitoring, testing and transfusions in her future.
“Our whole family has been impacted by Avari’s diagnosis,” Anya stated. “Even my oldest daughter sometimes pretends that her dolls have DBA.”
“We are grateful for the chance to help raise awareness about the need for blood transfusions,” Anya said. “We encourage our friends and family to donate blood as often as they can.”
Avari lives with her family in Flagstaff.