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Family of now cancer-free Ky. girl talks about importance of donating blood

Published: Sep. 7, 2020 at 4:46 PM EDT
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JESSAMINE CO., Ky. (WKYT) - The pandemic has put a lot of things on hold, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the critical need for blood donations.

“I used to give blood when I was a younger woman when it was convenient for me,” said Jill Evely. “I didn’t really think about it.”

Evely’s mindset on giving changed in an instant when her two-year-old granddaughter, Lilly, was diagnosed with leukemia.

“I used to give blood when I was a younger woman when it was convenient for me,” said Jill Evely. “I didn’t really think about it.” Evely’s mindset on giving changed in an instant when her two-year-old granddaughter, Lilly, was diagnosed with leukemia.
“I used to give blood when I was a younger woman when it was convenient for me,” said Jill Evely. “I didn’t really think about it.” Evely’s mindset on giving changed in an instant when her two-year-old granddaughter, Lilly, was diagnosed with leukemia.(WKYT)

Despite weighing just 30 pounds, Lilly ended up needing more than 30 units of blood throughout her treatment.

“Some of it was plasma, some was platelets and some of it was blood,” said Evely. “Anyway, I made a vow that I would replace what Lilly took. I figured all of these people gave all of this blood for her, so I just wanted to pay it back.”

Evely is now a frequent blood and platelet donor. Because the latter has a shelf life of just five days, hospitals are constantly working to replenish their supply.

“A lot of times they already have a sticker made with a recipient’s name on it, with a courier waiting to deliver it,”

To date, Evely has donated more than four gallons of blood.

She says trips to the Kentucky Blood Center have become a new family tradition. It’s their way of saying thank you for helping to save Lilly’s young life.

“When she turned six, I said, ’Lilly, what are you going to do now that you’re six?’ and she said, ’I’m going to learn to read.’ You know, for a while, we weren’t even sure if she was even going to make it to six, now she has a future, and we get to see it,” Evely said.

Lilly had blood work done just last week, everything came back clear and cancer-free.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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