CHILLIWACK, B.C. — In some ways, Rielynn Gormley is a lot like other one-year-olds.
The tiny tot is curious and adventurous. She’s also oblivious to just how carefully her parents need to watch her every move.
Rielynn has a rare blood disorder, and her story has inspired many in her community to roll up their sleeves and make a donation at a blood drive in B.C.’s Fraser Valley.
Getting a cut isn’t a big deal for most kids, but this is one of the ways she differs from others her age.
“We do find ourselves being helicopter parents because we’re trying to prevent injury,” her mother, Richelle, said in an interview with CTV News Vancouver.
“My daughter, this year, was diagnosed with Von Willebrand disease, which is a rare and severe blood disorder.”
The disorder makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding if she’s injured.
“She bruises easily, or certain cuts might bleed for hours. She’s had a few mouth cuts that bled for six hours,” Richelle said.
Sometimes she bleeds so much that she needs an intravenous treatment in hospital. This treatment is made from plasma, a donated blood product.
“Having a daughter with a blood disorder has really made us realize how important blood is in saving people’s lives, but it also helps individuals like my daughter live relatively normal lives,” Richelle said.
And it’s that realization that’s behind Richelle’s plan for a special event in honour of Rielynn’s first birthday: a blood drive taking place in Chilliwack this weekend.
As of Thursday, almost 40 people had signed up, and the family hopes that even more will donate, whether it’s during the drive or on their own.
Rielynn’s father, Dylan, said the response so far as been “unbelievable.”
Canadian Blood Services says new and returning donors are particularly needed during the summer months, so whether it’s Rielynn or someone else who needs blood, her family is grateful to those willing to give.
With a report from CTV News Vancouver’s Michele Brunoro