A BRAIN infection that nearly killed five-year-old Chloe Brown drove Tamworth’s biggest outpouring of blood donations.
Now seven, Chloe returned to the Red Cross Blood Bank to say thanks for the 145 donations to Chloe’s Challenge.
Mum Katie said Chloe had to be rushed to Sydney in 2016 when she started vomiting, she was diagnosed with mastoiditis that lead to an infection in the brain.
“We ended up spending four of five months down there – she was in an induced coma, she had to learn how to do everything again, speak, eat, walk, everything,” she said.
“After that they figured out she has an immune deficiency so all her immunisations as a child hadn’t worked.
“That’s the reason why she receives a transfusion every week that gives her the immunisations that a child her age would have.”
The inaugural challenge ran between December 2016 and April 2017 – matching the time Chloe spent away from home.
With every donation saving three lives, the contribution smashed the challenge target and helped save the lives of 435 Australians in the process.
Chloe said her brother Archie was a great helper, and had a message for anyone considering blood donation.
“Come in and help everyone who’s sick,” she said.
“It’s amazing, it’s something so easy that everyone can do and it can help so many people – not just Chloe but so many people around Australia,” Katie Brown said.
Chloe’s Challenge didn’t stop there, donors continued to drop in over the year and took first place in the state for the highest number of lives saved by a community group – 1149 in total.
Australian Red Cross Blood Service community relations officer Stuart Ward encouraged others to donate.
"It's really good that people donate all the time, but to see how it actually affects a local family is really important,” he said.
“Only one in 30 people donate, yet one in three people need the blood product.”
"We really need people because the demand for blood never stops.
“For example, Chole, who needs her weekly treatment, is a good example to show that no matter how cold and miserable it is outside, come in and see our beautiful Tamworth Blood Donor Centre and make a donation.”