Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate Staff Trish Robichaud says her daughter Brielle Robichaud could go through chemotherapy only because she was able to receive blood transfusions.

6-year-old needed blood to get through chemo, her mom says

It’s been three years since Red Deer’s Brielle Robichaud was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and since then she has received seven blood transfusions.

Her mom, Trish Robichaud, said the family wants to raise awareness about donating blood.

“We have benefited so much from blood donations,” she said.

The family helped the Red Deer Rebels in their annual blood donor challenge Wednesday evening. The Rebels and Lethbridge Hurricanes have partnered with Canadian Blood Services to see who can bring in more blood donations in January.

After being diagnosed with the tumour when she was three-years-old, she had to undergo 19 months of chemotherapy.

“Most people cannot do chemotherapy without blood transfusions because it kills both good and bad blood cells,” she said.

Trish said she could see the difference that blood transfusions made for her daughter within minutes of receiving them.

“She would be exhausted and pale and after receiving blood she would have energy to play and colour would return back to her cheeks,” she said.

Shaun Richer, Canadian Blood Services territory manager for Red Deer and Central Alberta, said in January Red Deer needs 1,400 blood donors including 150 new blood donors.

“We are looking for first time donors because they may come back to donate,” he said, adding that the old donors often come back to make blood donations.

The journey is not over for Brielle and her family.

The tumour has been stable since August 2016, but the family keeps a close watch so it doesn’t grow.

“She might need treatment in the future,” said Trish, adding that blood donations have made a difference in her daughter’s life.

Trish said blood transfusions are essential in Brielle’s recovery.

“We couldn’t do it without the blood donations,” she said, encouraging others to donate blood.

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