At age 10, Emma Grace Barnes, of Fort Mill, S.C., is not your typical blood drive sponsor. She’s a spunky fifth-grader at Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy, and she dances at Miller Street Dance Academy.
In July 2011, Emma Grace became very sick. She was diagnosed with AVM (arteriovenous malformation) in her brain, causing her brain to bleed. Doctors had to perform a craniotomy on Emma Grace. She also underwent radiation treatments and had to receive blood transfusions.
Many with AVM do not survive. Those who do, call their survival date a “rebirthday.” Emma Grace realized how thankful she was to receive blood, and it helped save her life. She decided to host a blood drive at her dance school, which has been an integral part of her recovery—physically, mentally and socially. Never doing anything half-way, Emma Grace’s first blood drive was a big success, surpassing her goal of 25 units, and collecting 27 pints of blood!
“When people donate blood you can know for a fact that you did something good for another person who really needed it,” said Emma Grace.
“Emma Grace has faced each step with courage and determination. I am so proud of her,” said Emma Grace’s Mom Emme Barnes. “As a parent of a child who needed the blood when we were in crisis mode helping her recover from such an invasive surgery, it was comforting to know that someone’s selfless act of donating blood made such a huge difference. It was one less thing to worry about in the hospital so we are truly grateful.”
Emma Grace now wants to host a blood drive at her dance studio every July to celebrate her “rebirthday.”