Seven-year-old girl meets her blood donors

On Thursday, a little girl from Topeka, Kansas, met with the blood donors who've helped save her life over the years.

Sierra Hitsman, 7, was diagnosed with sickle-cell disease when she was just one week old. She received her first blood transfusion before her third birthday.

To reduce her risk of a stroke, she now requires two blood transfusions a month.

The Community Blood Center in Kansas City chose little Sierra as its guest of honour for the fourth annual meeting of a blood recipient and his/her donors to help celebrate National Blood Donor Month.

More than 25 people have donated blood to Sierra, helping reduce her stroke risk from 96 per cent to 25 per cent.

“Without all of her donors, she would not be here today," Sierra's grateful mother, Sandra, told The Kansas City Star.

Ten of Sierra's donors made it to the ceremony where the first-grader handed out a framed thank-you card she coloured that read: "Thank you for the gift of the quality of life."

"Meeting her was very special and hearing her story was even more special," donor Donna Gratts told KMBC.

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"It's very touching, and you know, this is the reason I donate," said donor Tony Proulx.

The donors are all part of the Gift of Smiles program: they've each been screened and their blood is given specifically to Sierra. It ensures that Sierra won't have to worry about transfusion rejections.