BLYTHEWOOD, SC (WIS) - For Kelly Ellison, simple life pleasures are miracles.
She's a mother of three and a wife to one, she says. Her world and her heart are full. She clings to the ordinary days, remembering when those days weren't so normal.
Three years ago, just seven weeks pregnant with her third child, Ellison said she knew something was wrong. By 28 weeks into her pregnancy, she had been admitted to the ICU. She was bleeding uncontrollably from her mouth and nose, and shortly after, she got not one, but two terrifying diagnoses: cancer and a rare disorder called "aplastic anemia."
"In order to sustain the life of our son I needed blood and platelets to get to a safe place to deliver him. Because since he had been in me, he hadn't been receiving what he needed," Ellison explained.
Aplastic anemia: meaning Ellison's body had stopped producing new blood cells. Couple that with a kidney cancer diagnosis, and Ellison knew the road ahead was a long one.
"Being pregnant gave me that focus to continue to fight - because I was fighting for his life too," Ellison said.
At 33 weeks, Ellison gave birth to Thor. Over the course of her treatments, Kelly received 43 units of blood. Baby Thor also needed a full blood transfusion.
"He also needed blood and platelets. because his blood levels matched mine," Ellison said.
Three years later, she's eternally grateful and thankful.
As we gear up for the annual WIS blood drive on Thursday, Ellison wants to urge others to give the gift of life.
"I just thank them that they gave of their time and they gave of their blood. There's moms out there like me and dads and sons and daughters and friends that all need that every day," Ellison said.
One of the mantras in the Ellison household: "Feed the good." And there's no better way to "feed the good," than to pass the miracle along to the next person who needs one.
"We have lots of opportunities to influence people," Ellison said. "We rarely have opportunities to save someone's life. And if they're willing to give of their blood and their time, they're saving someone's life."
To see a full list of locations where you can donate to the annual WIS blood drive in partnership with the American Red Cross, click here.