Family credits blood, platelet and bone marrow donors for saving their daughter from a rare condition

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Pretty pink lights and more stuffed animals than you can count disguise Ava’s hospital room.

Her little buddy, a service dog named Targa, by her side.

“I painted her nails,” Ava told News 4. “Pink and sparkly.”

Eight months ago, Ava was admitted to OU Children’s Hospital.

“She had this really big bruise on her arm, which is not uncommon. She’s an athletic kid, but she didn’t know where it came from because it was large,” Ava’s Mom Jen Wood said.

Doctors found out Ava had aplastic anemia, which is a rare condition where her body stops producing enough blood cells.

It can cause uncontrollable bleeding which is why weekly blood transfusions are a necessity.

“People tend to die of bleeding or infection. The timing is unpredictable but at some point most people with aplastic anemia, if not treated, will die from one of those things,” Dr. David Crawford, Dir. of Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant at OU Children’s Hospital, said.

One possible cure for Ava’s illness: a bone marrow transplant.

But she needed to keep her platelet count high enough and relied on generous donors.

Seeing what Ava was facing, her dad went to the Oklahoma Blood Institute to donate his platelets not knowing who would get his supply.

“The sticker that he gets on his paperwork after he donated had a number on it and I would compare it to the green heart that was attached to her unit and there was three times it was his blood product which was really cool,” Jen Wood said.

These small green hearts just a few of the 70 blood and platelet transfusions Ava received.

Then late last month, just days before Ava’s 10th birthday, doctors found a perfect bone marrow match in Europe.

“We’re hopeful we’re able to wean all of her medicines she needs for the transplant within three months or so and hopefully return to having a normal life,” Dr. Crawford said.

Her family credits those blood and bone marrow angels for helping Ava.

“She wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for blood donors so they saved our baby,” Jen Wood said.

As she spends her birthday in the hospital, there’s one present Ava will be grateful for: a chance to lead a normal life.

KFOR is proud to partner with Bob Moore for their annual blood drive this Saturday.

It will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at three Bob Moore locations.

Locations are: Bob Moore Subaru of Edmond located at 13010 N. Kelley Ave, Bob Moore Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of OKC located at 7402 NW Expressway in OKC and Bob Moore Ford located at 8948 S. I-35 Service Road in OKC.

You’ll receive a free pizza from Papa Johns, a free voucher to Frontier City, Science Museum Oklahoma or Safari Joe’s H20 Water Park, a free t-shirt and be entered for a chance to win a new car.

For more information visit

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