Valley boy celebrates 58th blood transfusion

PHOENIX, (Ariz.) - Governor Doug Ducey has proclaimed September 3rd through the 10th as Arizona Blood Donation Week because of the decline in donations over the Labor Day holiday. United Blood Services is ramping up their efforts with the help of a very special little boy.

On August 24th, Nathan Macak turned 4. The celebration a day prior was a very special one not just because of his birthday, but because Nathan received his 58th blood transfusion.

"That's like my biggest fear, not being able to receive blood because he would pass away if he didn't receive blood," said Nathan's mother April Macak.

Nathan receives blood every three to four weeks since early on in his life. At just a few months old, Macak noticed her son started to turn yellow and his belly was extended.

"Last July we finally received a diagnosis of Dehydrated Somatoschycosis Pheno-type and as far as the doctors can tell, he is the second person in medical literature to have this genetic mutation," said Macak.

Nathan relies on the generosity of strangers to donate life saving blood, a need that will likely continue the rest of his life.

The need for blood donors grows at an alarming rate this time of year, according to United Blood Services.

"It takes about 500 people to give blood every single day to keep up with the need of the 62 hospitals," said Sue Thew with United Blood Services.

Thew said giving blood is no worse than a flu shot, and the gift serves many purposes.

"Your red blood cells go to someone like Nathan who has a blood disorder," said Thew. "Plasma goes to people who are suffering from internal bleeding because it provides life saving clotting factors, and platelets generally go to help cancer and leukemia patients because the chemotherapy treatments actually can destroy the platelets that are in their blood."

April Macak is grateful for all the gifts her son gets especially the ones that add another year to his life and encourages those who can to donate blood.