(NEW YORK) -- These days, SpongeBob SquarePants, Transformers, pirates and Disney-character Band-Aids are all a part of the selection for Liam Gorman, who receives blood transfusions every third Friday of the month. But for Liam, who's six, there's nothing like a bacon Band-Aid strip to wrap up an all-day visit to Brooklyn Hospital Center.
Liam must get transfusions every two-to-three weeks because of a rare condition known as Diamond Blackfan Anemia, in which one's bone marrow is unable to produce red blood cells.
After a difficult birth, doctors found that baby Liam had a low platelet count. He spent his first 32 days of life in the neo-natal intensive care unit, but it wasn't until he was 15 months old that Liam was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan Anemia. Only about 600 people in the entire world have been diagnosed with it.
Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, so, when Liam's levels are low, he can become pale and fatigued.
Doctors have not kept Liam from playing sports or doing the things that most kids do, but he must be monitored carefully. Those with Diamond Blackfan Anemia can live full lives if treated and cared for properly.
And his treatments are not for the faint of heart. Once a month, Liam takes off from school to get his transfusion. While the kids like to spice up their treatments with fun or funky Band-Aids, Liam and the other children in the pediatrics department didn't always have such colorful options. After the hospital went through a series of budget cuts, the kids were stuck with boring brown Band-Aids.
So Liam had an idea. He said to his father, Anthony Gorman, a paramedic, last April, "Let's go ask people for Band-Aids." The colorful kind, that is.
Gorman began asking his paramedic friends to donate a box of Band-Aids for the kids at Brooklyn Hospital Center. The word spread, and in a matter of three weeks, Gorman had collected 500 boxes of children's Band-Aids.
It may sound trivial, but for those kids receiving blood transfusions or chemotherapy treatments, the choice of Band-Aid can go a long way, Gorman said.
Gorman said that Brooklyn Hospital should be all set with colorful Band-Aids for a while. But Liam and his father plan to continue their campaign. Along with the Band-Aids, Gorman also holds blood drives in honor of Liam every six-to-nine months.
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