1/15/03 - Giving Helps! - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

1/15/03 - Giving Helps!

We kicked off the 9th annual Heartland blood drive Wednesday, with a special drive in our studios for KFVS 12 employees. Donations save thousands of lives every year across the country, and here in the Heartland.

Dan Niswonger needed blood donations after a tragic accident when he was 41, while little Mikey Miller needed them at the young age of two.

Mikey's mom Beverly Miller says, "He had tumors basically from his skull to his ankles." The smile on four year old Mikey's face shows the determination of a little boy who has gone through so much, in such a short amount of time. "It was brutal, he was on life support twice," he says.

His parents noticed something was wrong when Mikey was one, a diagnosis of neuroblastoma cancer which is cancer of the nervous cells, came when he was two. Chemotherapy, radiation, two surgeries, and several blood transfusions followed.

For a year and a half, Mikey needed a blood donation every two weeks. His mom says, "Two years ago at Christmas there was a shortage, we had to wait three days for him to receive the blood. Right now, Mikey's stable, and his cancer is gone for the moment. "If he hadn't gotten the blood, I don't think he would be here right now," his mom says.

For Dan Niswonger, the need for blood came later in life. A Cape Girardeau police officer, his life changed in April of 1994, after a motorcycle accident. "When we hit, I was thrown about 15 to 17 feet in the air, and hit a utility pole," Niswonger says. "I don't think they expected me to live at the time," he says.

Niswonger spent 87 days in the hospital. He had 13 surgeries, and more than 27 blood transfusions. "Without it, I would have definitely died," he says. Niswonger lost his leg because of the crash, but he's still able to live a normal life. Whether it's spending time inside the house, or outside with friends. He says blood donations are the reason he's here today. "Thank God for the people who are willing to give the time and the effort and to give that gift of life."

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