Saturday, May 25, 2013
Rare Blood Type Can Save Vulnerable Babies
The life of a Vietnam War vet changed when he learned his O-negative blood could be given to neonatal infants.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTVA-CBS 11 News) Baby blood donors are a thin slice of the population who have blood pure enough for the veins of infants and even premature babies.
Keith Elsberry is a Vietnam War vet who received a phone call from the Blood Bank of Alaska after donating.
The news? His blood could be given to neonatal infants.
Elsberry's blood type is rare not only because it is O-negative, but because it is also negative for cytomegalovirus, known as CMV, which is found in most adults.
"It's almost impossible to put into words," said Elsberry. "You've got the most vulnerable group of human beings in existence the newborns, the preemies. They are immune-compromised and to be able to donate such a precious gift when they are just starting out, it's the most incredible feeling I have ever had."
Elsberry has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has battled severe depression. The news of his unique blood has offered him some light.
"This just adds a whole new dimension to my life right now, because I've never felt I was special in any way. To be able to give this gift allows me to feel special about myself for the first time in my life," said Elsberry.
Life is something the Moore family is celebrating thanks to people like Elsberry; today Carter Moore is three years old.
Back in 2007, doctors told Carter's mother, Sonja, he was rejecting blood flow from her umbilical cord and placenta.
Carter came into the world after an emergency C-section, arriving ten weeks early and weighing in at just 3 pounds. Doctors said he wouldn't live, but every day he is gaining strength in physical therapy.
"He's a miracle to us. We know that God is the one who gave him life, but the people who donate blood and the nurses and doctors and everyone else involved really make him who he is today," said Sonja Moore, Carter's mom.
Today Carter is a vivacious little boy with two brother's Kade and Cooper; the Moore family says people like Keith Elsberry give them hope.
"I think that's really awesome," said Sonja Moore. "I think that's awesome that he's found a way to help himself and help others."
The day after our interview with the Moore family, they set off to start a new life in Oregon.