11-year-old needs blood donations for survival

Ilma Morales has a rare immune deficiency that requires her to receive regular blood donations to survive. See how you can help.

Video Transcript

CHAZ MILLER: Giving blood. It's a relatively simple process, but for some people, the time you spend in that chair is the difference between life and death. That's the case for Ilma Morales, who's 11 years old, and plasma donations from the Blood Center, well, they keep her going.

ILMA MORALES: I'm 11. I'm in sixth grade. And I may not be like every other kid, but I'm unique. And that's perfectly fine.

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Hi. My name's Ilma Morales, and I have hypogammaglobulinemia.

- Her body is not able to fight off infection like the average person. And so, many times, those who pass from that condition, it's because of the infections. They get too bad. And the body just can't fight anymore. She requires plasma in order for her survival, in order for her not to get infections that get so severe that they can take her life.

ILMA MORALES: I get the transfusions every other week. I used to get them every week. So I try to be brave for others, like my friends and my family. I do get sad sometimes. I will cry, and I'll be asking my mom, why do I have to do this? Why do I have to have this disease? Like, why me? But then again, it's also a strength because other people may not have this disease, but I do, and if I'm brave enough to put a needle-- stick a needle in myself every other week, then, I mean, people can be brave enough to come and donate for others and for me.

- She just wants to be normal and be able to live a life like the rest. And the only way she can do that is by people donating plasma, because then people like Ilma, and Ilma, can receive it and have a chance at that. But she is-- she's awesome.

CHAZ MILLER: Ilma, thanks for spending some time with us. You said this has been tough, especially with COVID. But she credits her family and her faith in God as well as these donations in keeping her alive and healthy. At the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in the Medical Center, I'm Chaz Miller, ABC 13 Eyewitness News.