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Stoneham baby's survival story inspires others to donate blood

Stoneham boy's story inspires others to donate blood
Stoneham boy's story inspires others to donate blood 01:38

WAKEFIELD - The survival story of a Stoneham baby boy is inspiring folks to donate blood in Wakefield.

Liam Shanahan has been through a total of eight blood transfusions in his short life. Those procedures came in the womb and after he was born. His mother Katie developed a rare disease called alloimmunization.

She also suffered from another complication known as hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN). Liam was essentially anemic during her pregnancy. Katie was developing antibodies that were attacking her son and destroying his red blood cells. It's rare, showing up in 1% of pregnancies.

"Our son wouldn't be alive without blood donors," said Katie Shanahan. "We luck out that we live in Boston, and can get great medical care, but that is not the norm around the country."

Liam was medically cleared a year ago. Thankfully, he will live a normal life with no complications.

Liam Shanahan of Stoneham
Liam Shanahan CBS Boston

"I just want him to know that he was strong and resilient before he was even born, and hopefully that can carry on in the future when he is older," smiled Shanahan.

His family held a blood drive in his honor. It coincided with the anniversary date of Liam being medically cleared. The Wakefield community responded by filling every available time slot for blood donations.

"Happy to do this! You got to pay it forward, so we are happy to help them do that," said Pam Gardner who came to donate blood. "I think I have given blood a couple times recently, but not often enough so this is a good reminder to give blood whenever they can." 

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