Tennessee teen with leukemia encourages blood donations during national shortage

Blood shortage
Posted at 4:47 PM, Jan 18, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A teen with leukemia receiving treatment at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is asking the community to make time to give blood.

"Stick with the appointment. You're doing a good thing," said Brody Cramer.

Cramer is 13 years old. He was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in February and regularly needs blood transfusions. "The chemo has some side effects that drop my blood levels," Cramer explained.

In almost a year, Cramer has needed 30 units of red blood cells and 16 units of platelets, all of which were donated.

"The blood is a part of [his] treatment essentially," said Christina Cramer, Brody's mom. "Everything else is manufactured in a pharmacy, but this is solely reliant on people's donations and what people give. If it is not available he can't take his chemo."

When Cramer's hemoglobin levels have gotten low, he's not felt like himself.

"My chest would beat very fast, I would have headaches. I would just be worn down, really bad and wouldn't want to do anything," Cramer said.

The American Red Cross recently announced the nation is critically low on blood. The Cramer family is worried that some patients may not be able to get the blood they need.

"Hopefully, I always hope the children and especially the children who need it for their chemo will be selected, but there are emergencies. When it's lifesaving, they have to have it, so it's been a little bit stressful when I know that he needs it, especially when he needs multiple bags," said Christina Cramer.

You can sign up here to make an appointment to give blood at a location that's convenient to you.