By Tiffany Tregenza
Almost three years ago, Ivy was given a second chance. Her immune system severely compromised and her little spirit too…we were told about a medication called IVIG.
I didn’t know a lot about it then - just that it was a blood product and not a lot about immune deficiency either. Only that it was genetic and all consuming and that it made my girl very sick all of the time.
I hated that she was ill and I loathed the hospital and the doctors and that I couldn’t make it better.
I remember thinking that the pediatrician was joking when he phoned me up that afternoon to tell me that after our third attempt, Ivy’s application was approved.
And then I cried.
And then I thanked the powers that be.
And then I cried some more.
I think I phoned Dave and then my Mum.
I’ve watched as each of those infusions go in. I’ve seen the improvements and I know what we left behind.
It’s not perfect - Ivy’s immune system. There are parts that the IVIG can’t fix, but it’s a thousand times better than what it was without it, and I am thankful every single day.
The most amazing thing about it all is that we rely on the kindness of people to make it all possible. Without blood donors there would be no such thing as IVIG. There is no synthetic other.
It’s all up to the population of Australians who roll up their sleeves and give.
Last night I sat at a table, with Dave and the kids, two of whom are counting down the days until they can give blood. I sat there with one of the doctors who had looked after Ivy at the beginning of it all. She’s now a pediatric hemotologist.
I sat amongst around a hundred others who were being honored for donating. I was there to tell them Ivy’s story and to thank them for being some of the 1 in 30 people who choose to donate blood so that my girl can have her second chance.
I love doing it.
I love feeling as though I can give just a tiny bit back by letting them know what a difference they have made.
Just as I was about to start, a message came through on Twitter. It said something like: ‘Please tell Ivy, eight of us donated blood today because of her’.
There is so much humanity and grace in the world and we get to be a part of that.
People giving for people.
After we had finished everyone came to meet Ivy. They came to talk to her and to tell me that she was inspiring and that our story made their giving worth it. I met to a man who had been to war and had received transfusions when he was injured and wanted to give something back.
He told me: “She’s my girl. Every time I feel the sting of that needle, every time I feel nervous about it, I tell myself I’m doing it for Ivy”.
I met wonderful, warm, funny, loving people who selflessly give the greatest of gifts. They all have stories as to why they started donating blood. They are all amazing.
I won’t look at a vial of IVIG without seeing the kind eyes, feeling the warm touch, and knowing the human face to it all.
I want Ivy to know too. It’s blood donor’s week in Australia and I want to celebrate them.
I will always be.