Local family understands importance of donating blood

Brianna Gerhardt is now in remission after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

By Sonya

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A James Island family understands the importance of blood donation. Their youngest child was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and had to undergo several blood transfusions in addition to surgery and chemotherapy.

Brianna Gerhardt, just 15 years old, used to spend lots of time in her room on her computer because she was so tired, but her family got an explanation for the exhaustion this summer.

"My little sister in June was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which kind of rocked my entire world," said Ashley Gerhardt, Brianna's sister.

"It's scary. I mean, I never would have thought it would happen to my child," said Jamie Molony, Brianna's mom.

The Stage 4 disease had taken its toll on Brianna's body and she needed blood fast.

"If she wouldn't have had that blood transfusion, there is a chance she could have died due to her red blood count being so low and just to know that some stranger out there donated some blood means everything to me because she is my world -- she is my little sister," said Gerhardt.

Brianna has had a total of four blood transfusions since early June.

"It's not something you can prepare for or think well I'll give them blood if that ever happens -- there isn't time," said Molony. "All the blood has to be sterilized and properly maintained prior to giving it to a child."

These days Brianna is in remission and spends time laughing and playing cards with her mom and sister but this family will never forget the importance of giving the gift of life.

"Once it really hit home, it was like no I need to do this, I can help somebody out there," said Gerhardt.

"My dad had always been a big blood donor. My iron is a little low, but anytime I can I give," said Molony.

And this family plans to donate every chance they can in the future.