Family Support Helps Save Life of Baby

JONESBORO, AR -- This is the time of year that people are finding things to be thankful for.  One Region 8 family is counting its blessings that their newest member is still here and growing stronger.

Anna Lee Shinabery was born with a benign un-operable tumor growing in her lower back.  The tumor eats up her blood platelets and because of that she gets platelets on a regular basis.

Her great grandfather R.D. Gill donates platelets every Wednesday.

"They found a tumor called Kaposiform hemangioendothelioma," said Lee Shinabery.

Anna's father is pharmacist Lee Shinaberry who says the tumor is rapidly growing and life threatening.  Treatments include chemotherapy and platelet transfusions.

"Her platelets are dropping dramatically and at one point she was on platelet infusions, she's now doing better than that and not having to get the platelets as often anymore," said Shinabery.

In fact, chemo treatments have shrunk the tumor by fifty percent.  But if it weren't for the platelet donations, they might not have made it this far.

"We're very thankful that Anna has gotten this far and is as strong and healthy as she is now because one thing we've learned with this is that's not common," said Shinabery.

For Anna's great grand father there was never a question of if he would help.

"It's hard a baby that small and such a terrible thing happening to it.  If you can give something to help her that's what you want to do," said Gill.

"He and my grandmother, both sets of grandparents, all I ever had to do was pick up the phone and call and ask them for something and as quick as they could have it, I had it if I needed it," said Shinabery.

Even knowing that, Shinabery said he has been surprised by the amount of support.

"You never know until you go through something like this what your family all will do for you and they've been remarkable," said Shinabery.

There is a long road ahead for this family.  With the rarity of the illness the future is still unclear.

They are constantly in need of platelet donations at the American Red Cross.  If you would like to donate platelets for Anna Lee Shinabery you can donate in her name.