Mom Alanea Holstrom and daughter Lynnea

Mom Alanea Holstrom and daughter Lynnea

Okanagan mother urges people to donate blood; it saved her child’s life

At just three-years-old little Lynnea Holstrom suffers from leukemia. We can all help by donating blood.

  • Dec. 8, 2014 9:00 a.m.

Up until her daughter became seriously ill, Alanea Holstrom was like a lot of us when it came to donating blood, thinking surely there are enough people out there giving that we don’t have to.

But in the past year, as her three-year-old daughter Lynnea has battled leukemia and suffered through life-saving blood transfusions, Holstrom has found out differently and is now trying to spread the word by sharing her story.

“I had always wanted to donate blood but unfortunately I never made it a priority until I saw what a difference it made in my own daughter’s life,” said Holstrom on Monday. “I was always under the assumption there was enough people donating blood. The first time I went into the blood clinic myself I was really scared to find out that less than four per cent of eligible donours actually make it out to donate blood.”

And that four per cent now consists of Holstrom and her husband, now regular blood donours after going though more than a year of anxiety and stress after young Lynnea was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, just shy of her second birthday.

Cute, shy, bubbly and in love with cupcakes, little Lynnea had ended up in the doctor’s office after a fall resulted in what doctors first thought was just a sprain. But after the injury didn’t heal and Lynnea’s pain worsened, Holstrom kept asking for another opinion. She was finally sent to see a pediatrician, who ordered blood work and nailed down the leukemia diagnosis. She was immediately flown to Children’s hospital.

“She has been in treatment for just over a year now and she has had many blood transfusions,” said Holstrom. “She had six months of intense chemotherapy and still has daily treatments with her blood levels constantly monitored. Through it all she has managed to stay really happy, really bright and full of life. She has been a trooper through this whole situation.”

Spending time at B.C. Children’s Hospital as well as other health institutions since the diagnosis has opened Holstrom’s eyes to just how many people are in need of blood transfusions.

“We have spent so much time in the B.C. Children’s Hospital and in the oncology department,” she said. “We see kids every day that would come in and need blood transfusions on a daily basis. I never realized the need.”

In Kelowna, the Canadian Blood Services clinic is open four days per week and can take 64 appointments each day. Each donation is said to be able to save as many as three lives, yet there are times, like Christmas, when the clinic is not full and has trouble filling the appointments.

“I know Christmas is a busy time for everyone but that also means it’s a bit more of a challenge for us to get people into the clinic,” said Gayle Voyer, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services. “We are open throughout the holiday season and what better gift than giving the gift of life. We ask that you spread the word to your family and friends. It only takes an hour of your time.”

For Holstrom, who drives to Kelowna from Oliver with her husband to donate blood, donating is no longer an option. They have made it part of their routine.

“It’s just so important to me,” she said. “There was somebody out there that took the time to donate blood and it saved my daughter’s life. I am forever grateful. We were at the hospital for eight months and there were families there every day with us. Donating blood is a life saving gift.”

To book an appointment to give blood today, call 1-888-236-6283 or visit blood.ca

Kelowna Capital News

Just Posted

Central Okanagan Public Schools (File photo)
COVID-19 exposure identified at West Kelowna school

The site of the exposure has been identified as Shannon Lake Elementary School

A West Kelowna man was seriously injured in a single-vehicle collision early on Tuesday morning. (Black Press file photo)
Single vehicle collision seriously injures West Kelowna man

The man was driving a pickup truck that went off the road and caught on fire

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Cheetahs can’t roar

Your morning start for Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Voix du Coeur is bringing music to seniors in retirement homes as restrictions slowly start to ease. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Trio sings opera to Okanagan seniors as pandemic restrictions ease

Voix du Coeur travel around the Okanagan to bring the joy of music to seniors for free

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

Teenagers make their way to Truswell Road after a party is broken up by police at the end of Mission Creek (Lorraine Besner/Contributed).
Kelowna residents concerned about ongoing alleged underage beach parties

Public urination, property damage, drinking and drug usage have become weekly concerns

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

A new air cleaning technology will be installed at Unisus School in Summerland. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Virus cleaning pilot set for Unisus School in Summerland

Summerland-based lighting company to install technology at private school

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

Kelowna artist Bobby Vandenhoorn recently completed mural of late Canadian rock icon and activist Gord Downie now adorns Brenda Dalzell’s Sicamous business, the Bruhn Crossing Urban Market. (Contributed)
Canadian rock legend, activist Gord Downie inspires Sicamous mural

Business owner hopes artwork will help foster ongoing conversations around reconciliation

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Most Read