Chad’s story: a dad giving back for his son

June 16, 2016 at 7:00 am

Chad’s colleagues donate blood at the drive he organized.

When Chad Etsell’s coworkers at heard that BloodworksNW was having a shortage of certain blood types, they wanted to go into a donor center to donate blood as a group.

Chad figured, why not set up a blood drive in’s Seattle office instead? Within a day and a half, thirty-five people had committed.

Blood donation and donated blood mean a lot to Chad and his family.

Blood donations literally saved my son’s life, so it has a special place for me. I want to donate as much as I can whenever I can, and encourage other people to do the same.

When he was just over one year old, the Etsell’s oldest son, Henry, lost two thirds of his blood into his abdomen after a routine operation turned into an emergency.

After the operation he was very pale and lethargic and not his normal self, even considering having an operation, and had massive bruising and massive swelling.

Tests showed that Henry had hemophilia, an inherited disorder caused by missing clotting protein, called factor. Henry received factor infusions to stop the bleeding and blood transfusions to get his blood level back to normal. He spent four or five days in Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Today, three-year-old Henry receives his daily infusion of factor and immune therapy treatment like a champ.

Chad and Graham helping Henry with his daily factor fusion

Chad and Graham helping Henry with his daily factor fusion.

It doesn’t phase him – he just watches his cartoons or eats breakfast while we’re doing it and it’s totally fine.

Chad is the only one in his family who can donate blood: his wife, Nicolette, and youngest son, Graham, also have hemophilia. He takes pride in being a blood donor.

Chad gives with help from Henry

Chad donates blood with help from Henry.

It’s something you do because it’s important and because it helps people. The stats I found really hit it home: one in four people is going to need at least one transfusion in their life. It’s guaranteed someone very close to you is going to need a blood transfusion.

That’s a pretty huge impact for something that’s relatively small.

Chad’s encouragement paid off: registered 44 donors, with 32 first time donors at their drive in May!

Want to help? Schedule your next donation or organize a blood drive.