Blood donations give life to 2-year-old Zellie battling Leukemia

To one little girl battling Leukemia, blood donations mean the difference between life and death.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - One blood donation can save up three lives.

To one little girl battling Leukemia, blood donations mean the difference between life and death.

Two-year-old Zellie is the face of the THV11 and Arkansas Blood Institute summer blood drive.

Her sweet smile and larger than life bow has captured the hearts of thousands of Arkansans this month, but it's her story that is sure to stand out in the hearts of so many.

Zellie was born premature in November 2014, spending the first 19 days of her life in the NICU. However, it wouldn't be long before she was back in the hospital.

“Everything was OK until at 16 months, April of last year, she tested positive for RSV and that literally put us into a tail spin. It hit her immune system so hard,” said Zellie’s mom, Lindsay Norsworthy.

For the next 41 days, Zellie laid in a hospital bed at Arkansas Children's Hospital undergoing tests.

“Everything from tick-borne to histoplasmosis to fungal, we had her tested for everything. Everything was negative,” said Norsworthy. “Her coined trademark name was "Zellie-itis" because she stumped six different teams as to what her diagnosis was.”

Zellie was sent home with antibiotics, but there was still no concrete diagnosis. A few months later she developed a fever and was rushed back to Arkansas Children's.

“We waited all weekend long so we could do the bone marrow and by noon on that Monday we knew that we had leukemia,” said Norsworthy.

Zellie was diagnosed with acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells. Her treatment would require chemotherapy and several rounds of blood and platelet donations. Some treatments require the blood of more than 100 donors.

“As a nurse I had seen how it saved lives, but as a mother I witnessed my own daughter's life being saved time and time again,” said Norsworthy.

Thanks to those donations, Zellie is thriving. She is now in maintenance and, if all goes well, will enter remission in January 2019.

The THV11 and Arkansas Blood Institute blood drive runs through June 30. You can win a free ticket to Magic Springs and a t-shirt for donating blood. Then, starting July 1 through the end of August, you can receive free admission to the Little Rock Zoo and a t-shirt for giving blood.

Visit ArkansasBloodInstitute.com for more information. 

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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