"She was only 3lbs 9oz when she was born."
Just 18-months old, little Peyton Pilcher faces what could be the biggest challenge of her life. She's spent most of her life in the hospital battling a rare disease.
tumor was the size of a softball when she was diagnosed, and then it actually
grew within a couple of days to the size of a grapefruit," said Holly Pilcher, Peyton is her only child.
Peyton was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a type of liver cancer in infants forming from immature liver cells. And that grapefruit of a tumor was bleeding. She went through four rounds of chemo therapy to shrink the tumor, nine grueling hours of surgery removing the right lobe of her liver and her gallbladder, followed by two more rounds of chemo. Peyton's mother, Holly, felt helpless, wishing she could take her daughter's place.
hard to watch when friends around me, their children were healthy and doing
regular baby things, and mine was in the hospital getting chemo treatment," Pilcher said.
Through the difficult time, Peyton's life required several blood and platelet transfusions; her precious life saved by generous, anonymous donors.
"It's a different way of giving back, said Alicia Reed, special donations recruitment specialist with Sheperd Community Blood Center. "You're giving of yourself in a completely different way."
At Sheperd Community Blood Center, one donation of blood could save three local lives. Right now the center says they're in desperate need of platelets, and they're looking for people to donate on a regular basis.
"You pass by one of the hospitals every day," Reed said. "And every day there's somebody in there receiving platelets so that they can live another day; so that their body can heal itself. So it's just very important that people come out and donate platelets with us."
One donation of platelets is equal to four to six donations of whole blood. But any donation is appreciated by the center, and by patients, like little Peyton, who can now enjoy her days playing with her mother.
"Just making up for lost time," Pilcher said about doing all the things she couldn't do while Peyton was being treated. "It's fun to watch her grow and laugh and talk and just seeing her progress now that she's healthy."
…healthy, happy and ready to live the rest of her life.