By Ed Harris
Grace United Methodist Church is holding a blood drive Saturday in honor of Daniela Ciriello, a little girl who requires blood transfusions every three weeks in order to live.
“After becoming acquainted with the family and Daniela, through some of our family, I hoped to find a way to help and support this loving and kind family from Southington,” said Terry Spencer, a lay leader at Grace United. “Daniela needs blood transfusions every three weeks to survive. It seemed a natural for Grace United Methodist to hold a blood drive in her honor. After sharing Daniela’s story, our church embraced the idea.”
Nicole Ciriello, Daniela’s mother, said her daughter has beta thalassemia, a blood disorder where a person’s blood does not naturally create enough red blood cells. Nicole said the disorder is typically found in those with Mediterranean ancestry.
“It’s actually pretty rare,” Nicole said, about beta thalassemia.
Daniela, 2, receives her blood transfusions at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Nicole said Daniela has a tough time with it, noting the constant needles and getting her daughter to sit still throughout.
In between transfusions, Daniela can get cranky and tired and just want to sleep, Nicole said. Following the transfusions, Daniela must take a medication to deal with the iron overload, which can cause damage if left untreated.
“It’s a lot for her,” Nicole said, talking about her daughter. “She’s really strong. She’s our hero.”
The Red Cross blood drive is set for Saturday, Nov. 1 at Grace United Methodist Church, 121 Pleasant St. The blood drive runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
More information on Daniela and her foundation can be found on her Facebook page, Facebook.com/DanielasDreamForaCure/info.
By Ed Harris