If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to receive a blood transfusion, just ask 13-year-old Ike Bauer, who has had more than 10 transfusions over the past year.
“It’s warmish — I feel hot,” Ike said.
Ike will start eighth grade at McPherson Middle School this month, after having to take a year off school to battle leukemia.
Courtney Bauer, Ike’s mother, said they started noticing something was wrong with Ike last year.
“He was having headaches and fevers often, on and off. He was playing basketball in the summer and we just thought it was strange that he would get fevers after
playing basketball. It didn’t make sense,” Bauer said.
Bauer took her son to the doctor, who performed a blood test.
“They confirmed it was acute lymphocytic leukemia,” Bauer said. “ALL is what they call it...it’s the most common childhood cancer.”
Ike went to see an oncologist the day after getting the results and was immediately admitted to the hospital, where he underwent putting in a PICC line, spinal taps and bone marrow aspirations.
“He started his chemo that same week,” Bauer said.
A month later, Ike’s leukemia was in remission, but he continued weekly chemotherapy treatments for a full year. The side effects included hair loss and a drop in hemoglobin levels severe enough to necessitate blood and platelet transfusions.
“Blood is pretty awesome for us,” Bauer said.
The transfusions took around nine hours to complete, but would revive Ike’s energy levels, which could sag so low he could not sit up in bed.
“It would turn him around just like that. He would go in totally pale and nine hours later — pink cheeks, ready to go,” Bauer said.
While receiving blood transfusions, Ike watches TV or texts his friends.
“It goes surprisingly quick,” Ike said.
A blood drive in honor of Ike will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Aug. 29 at First Christian Church, 101 S. Walnut in McPherson. Blood donors will receive a $5 Amazon egift card.
Bauers said less than 25 percent of the available time slots for donors are reserved and she is also seeking help to pull off the blood drive.
“I need volunteers to do the registration, escorting (donors) from spot to spot and working the canteen,” Bauer said.
Ike’s leukemia continues to be in remission and his chemotherapy has been reduced to once per month for the next two years, with spinal taps scheduled every three months.
“He just got his first haircut in over a year,” Bauer said.
Ike is looking forward to returning to a regular classroom after having to be tutored at home for the past few months.
“Now, he’s able to go back to school,” Bauer said. “He’s ready to go.”
While Ike will still miss school now and then for his doctor’s appointments, he hopes to build up his strength to be able to play basketball this winter and football next year.
“He’s excited to go to school with everyone else and not be the different kid,” Bauer said.
To volunteer to help with the blood drive, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080d48aea92ea02-blood. For more information, visit http://redcrossblood.org.
Contact Patricia Middleton by email at email@example.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.