Little girl gets lots of support with blood drive held in her honor

BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. — People in Bonner Springs gathered to donate blood for a little girl who has been battling cancer.

When five-year-old Haley Bernard was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia last year, the hospital that was treating her didn’t have enough blood for her transfusion. So to ensure that did not happen again, friends, loved ones, and even strangers gathered to help her and others in the community by donating blood on Saturday.

For Haley the Bonner Springs Fire Department is like a second home.

“Haley’s father has been a firefighter for many years on this fire department and Haley has been raised here at the fire department basically,” said Bonner Springs Fire Chief, Dennis Hubbel.

Saturday morning the line for the blood drive was out the door. People from across the metro waited to donate blood in her honor.

“I definitely couldn’t imagine going through what they’re going through so, like I said, anything we can do to try and help them ease their burden that they have,” said Kevin Ussery, who donated blood.

A little more than a year ago Haley was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, called JMML, which stands for Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia. Haley underwent chemo and a bone marrow transplant, and in the spring she was healthy but just last month in November, she relapsed.

“The kicker of it is also is that this disease, this leukemia is not very well treated with the typical chemo treatments, three year plans, things like that, this is pretty harsh straight into bone marrow transplant,” said Haley’s dad, Dennis Bernard.

Another challenge was that there was not enough blood.

“They had trouble getting her platelets at Children’s Mercy hospital when hers were low and they had to wait to find them here in Kansas City,” said Bonner Springs Fire Chief, Dennis Hubbel. “Nobody needs to be waiting on lifesaving blood, plasma or platelets.”

Bernard said blood drives like this one ensure his daughter and others won’t have to wait for life saving treatments.

“This blood here is not only going to help Haley but it’s going to help everybody in this community,” said Bernard.

After giving blood many stayed for a breakfast which benefited the American Cancer Society.

Eight-year-old Kaydin Brown isn’t much older than Haley.

“I just wanted to help her and raise money for her because I felt bad about what happened so I wanted to raise money for her,” said Brown.

In two weeks Haley has another bone marrow transplant.

People who were not able to make Saturday’s blood drive are encouraged to donate at a blood bank near to them.

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