Estill Co. toddler survives deadly disease thanks to blood donors

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ESTILL COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT)- A two-year-old boy is celebrating life along with his family after he received a pivotal blood transfusion to keep him alive. All thanks to blood donation.

Joel Bicknell came into the world as the youngest of six other children. His mother says it was normal to see Joel being swaddled up by other family members.

"He was always kind of babied by the others always someone wanting to carry him around and love on him," says Joel's mother, Chandra Bicknell.

Around his first birthday, Chandra began to notice his energy depleting and napping becoming more and more of a common occurrence. His parents noticed that Joel was still underweight more than a normal 1-year-old boy should be.

Joel's parents took him to see a doctor who continued to do tests on their son. The doctor returned with the prognosis that his iron levels were low. Doctors weren't sure what was happening but wanted his parents to prepare for the worst.

"They told us it could be leukemia or a couple of different rare anemia disorders," says Chandra.

Joel was eventually diagnosed with Transient Erythroblastopenia of Early Childhood (TEC). His body stopped making red blood cells and slowed down bone marrow development.

He had to have multiple blood transfusions to build his supply back up and slowly but surely Joel returned to his energetic state.

Chandra says although the situation was one she never wants to go through again, she now uses Joel's story to share and encourage others to donate blood and hopefully save more lives like Joel's.

"I'm excited to be an advocate now," says Chandra. "I feel like that's kind of what I consider my self-being now is an advocate for the blood center."

If you are interested in becoming a donor, you can join the WKYT Blood Drive on Wednesday. The drive will take place at the WKYT studios on Winchester Road in Lexington.

Everyone who registers will receive a free t-shirt, a $10 Amazon gift card and a chance to win a Toyota Highlander. During the drive, donors will also be treated to Chick-Fil-A and Donut Days.

Joel's story is just one of the thousands of stories that had a positive outcome because of donors.

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