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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --There are a lot of sounds coming from room 731 at Kosair Children's Hospital, sometimes it's laughter, other times it's music. It's the sounds you can't hear out in the hall though that often most accurately describe the seriousness of the situation there, like Austin Thompson reading a verse from the Bible.
"Unto thee will I cry oh Lord, my rock. Be not silent to me," he read. The 15-year-old from Madisonville said he leans heavily on his faith as he fights through his second round of cancer. "Cancer definitely made me think that life can end at any time," Thompson said.
He's undergoing intense rounds of chemo. That's a positive thing because the treatment is getting rid of the cancer, but there's also a negative side. "When you're going through chemo therapy treatment, you know it destroys the platelets, and so those numbers drop drastically," Lindsay English, of the American Red Cross, said.
"There was this one time I came in, and my platelet count was 2. If I didn't get platelets within a few days, I was going to die," said Thompson.
That's where donors at the Red Cross come in. Donors dedicate at least an hour and a half to donate blood and platelets for people like Thompson. He's needed over 60 blood and platelet products, each one represented in individual beads he now holds close.
The only problem with platelets given from others is that they have an extremely short shelf life of five days. And, the need is constant so the Red Cross started the "Weekend Warrior" program that awards people with a cooler for donating.
"So if you come in from Friday through Monday, that's the people who are going to be eligible for the program. And, it really lines up well with the hospitals who are receiving the platelets, and the patients receiving the platelets," English said.
Taking part may be the biggest gift you could ever give to someone like Thompson, whose future depends on it.
Red Cross Locations where you can donate:
Downtown Louisville Donor Center 520 E. Chestnut Louisville, KY
East End Louisville Donor Center 291 N. Hubbards Ln. Louisville, KY
Elizabethtown Donor Center 405 W. Dixie Highway Elizabethtown KY