MEDIC blood donations help 10-year-old in cancer fight

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — If you are looking for inspiration, look no further than Knoxville 10-year-old Alex Grappin.

It’s been almost two years since Alex was diagnosed with leukemia. That was followed by complications from chemotherapy.

“He could only look side to side with his eyes,” Alex’s father Tony Grappin tells WATE 6 On Your Side. “Couldn’t move his head at all. Couldn’t move, couldn’t talk. Didn’t eat for a month and a half except through a feeding tube.”

That was two years ago.

Today, Alex continues his climb to regain his speech and ability to walk. At times, even surprising those around him.

“Last summer his therapist thought that he was about to plateau on recovery and then something just clicked in him,” Grappin said, “and he just started sky rocketing and hitting more milestones. He just blew them away. They said, ‘Yeah, he’s pretty much done.’ But yeah, he’s still improving like daily.”

MEDIC Regional Blood Center blood donations played a pivotal role in Alex’s cancer battle.

“If you’d asked me what people used blood products for before our cancer journey, I would have thought like a trauma or someone has lost a lot of blood,” Alex’s mother, Sarah said. “I would not have thought of people dealing with cancer. The chemotherapy just depletes your platelets, your hemoglobin, things like that.”

Before his diagnosis, Alex’s father Tony had been a long-time blood donor. Never thinking that someday his family may be on the receiving end.

“Even though I’ve been doing it for so long, until (Alex) needed blood I’ve never been on that end of it. And, despite the fact that I’ve given, it still makes me so thankful for the people to take the time out of their day and to go through a little bit of pain. To go through that for someone they don’t know.”

Alex’s last scheduled chemo visit is scheduled for Dec. 27.

If you would like to make a reservation to donate with MEDIC, call 865-521-2682. For more about MEDIC and the benefits that come with donating, click here.

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