B.C. mom says blood transfusion saved her daughter’s life, urges others to donate blood

Holiday season blood donations desperately needed
Canadian Blood Services say they desperately need blood donations to get them through the busy holiday season. As Lynn Colliar reports, a Burnaby mother says a blood donor is the reason her daughter will celebrate her first Christmas. Today's Global News Hour at 6 Health Matters is brought to you by Pharmasave.

One year ago Liz Ciulla was 23 weeks pregnant when her water broke and she was rushed to hospital. After two weeks of bedrest she went into labour and delivered her youngest daughter, Karina, at just 25 weeks gestation.

Karina weighed just 1 lb. 7 oz. Liz jokes today she was the size of a stick of butter.

Last year there was no joking. Karina was fighting to live. An artery that closes naturally in full-term babies was open in Karina’s chest diverting blood from her lungs, leading to low oxygen levels.

READ MORE: Over 200 Canadians died in 2016 waiting for an organ transplant

The doctors attempted to treat her with medication but nothing changed so surgery was Karina’s only hope. She was only three weeks old and weighed just 2 lbs. 6 oz. She had so much blood taken from her for tests that before she could have the surgery she needed a blood transfusion.

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The surgery went well and she is soon to celebrate her first birthday.

Karina’s parents are thankful there was blood available and when they heard Canadian Blood Services had more than 5,000 open appointments between now and Jan. 6, they wanted to tell their story.

READ MORE: Only 4% of eligible Canadians donate blood

Karina is pleading with people to take an hour and donate. She says one unit of blood could be the difference between life and death, especially for the tiny babies in neonatal intensive care units.

To book an appointment call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or go to