At age 6, it is normal for Kari McCurdy to lose her front teeth.
It is also normal for her to have a high blood platelet count and be a healthy little girl who enjoys dolls and other toys.But it wasn't always normal for Kari, daughter of Karen and Steve McCurdy. When she was 3 1/2 years old, Kari had hemangiotosis, a mass of blood vessels that collected in the girl's back and bled into her abdomen, causing her to become bloated.
During treatment she required 634 units of blood, from which platelets were extracted and given to Kari in an effort to keep her alive.
Kari and her parents attended the annual Intermountain Health Care Blood Services luncheon last week when companies are honored for holding blood drives.
McCurdy said he has bittersweet memories of his daughter's six-month stay in the hospital between November 1988 and April 1989. The recollection is painful because of what his daughter was going through, but memorable because everyone pulled together to help Kari.
She first complained of stomach pains. When taken to the doctor she was diagnosed as needing a hernia operation. But three months after the operation her stomach became bloated from internal bleeding. McCurdy said his daughter needed a blood transfusion and figured it would be easy to replace the blood with help from family and friends.
But when it turned out to be 634 units "it became apparent that we didn't have that many family members or friends so we had to rely on others." He thanked all of the companies for their blood drives and urged them to continue their efforts.
Suddenly, Kari's platelet level increased and now she is fine. Doctors don't expect the condition to reappear.
Mrs. McCurdy said an average of eight blood donors were needed daily to meet her daughter's platelet needs. Because platelets can't be stored longer than five days, a steady stream of donors was needed to meet her needs alone.
Mark J. Howard, chief executive officer of IHC Utah County hospitals, who has donated 93 pints of blood, said when he was a hospital administrator in Vietnam the hospital took a shelling and a call went out for blood donors to help the injured.
"I decided to donate a pint and was amazed to find 300 people waiting in line to donate," said Howard. He expressed his confidence that the blood drawn and used in Utah is good and donating blood is the greatest gift anyone can give.
The corporations holding blood drives for the first time in 1990 received a plaque, and those repeating the events received 1990 emblems to put on the plaques they received in previous years.