A father’s thank-you

March 21, 2017

Branndon Frail, a donor recruitment consultant with the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center, was sitting in his son Ayden’s hospital room early Friday morning.

Nine-year-old Ayden suffers from neuroblastoma, and he has spent many days and nights in hospitals since his diagnosis five years ago. Neuroblastoma creates a constant need for blood transfusions in its young victims, and that constant need was one of Branndon’s motivations for becoming a recruiter with STBTC.

It was still dark outside when Ayden vomited, dislodging a large thrombosis in his nose, spurring bleeding. He was struggling to breathe as the nurses called the on-call doctor for orders.

Branndon knew his son needed platelets. It took an hour – a very long hour for both father and son – for the order to be placed for platelets.

It took just 26 minutes for the unit to arrive.

“I work there,” Branndon says. “I know the SOPs that must be followed before a unit is transported, and it was the wee hour of 6:30 a.m. when the unit arrived.”

Twenty minutes into his infusion, Ayden was asleep, and the bleeding had stopped.

“My paternal gratitude goes out to Hospital Services for being at work so early and available, and for being expeditious,” Branndon says. “Also for recruiters for securing the unit, QualTex for verifying its safety, Donor Services for drawing the unit, mechanics for making our resources reliable and an entire infrastructure of support professionals that make every day a possibility.”

When Ayden awoke, he looked at his father and had a question: Could he have some cologne, since he wanted to smell like a man?

“Just consider this interaction with your loved one,” Branndon says. “My son counted on you, I counted on you, the nurses counted on you, the doctor’s only backup was you. Thank you.

“I’m going to spray my 9-year-old with cologne, because he wants to be a man.”