Roman Fariello

Blood Donors Give Toddler Fighting Chance

At just 18-months-old, Roman Fariello was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma.

He fought hard through six rounds of chemotherapy and one round of high dose chemotherapy that killed his bone marrow in preparation for a stem cell transplant.

"After each round of chemo, Roman's blood and platelet counts would plummet," said Jody, Roman's mom. "He would need numerous blood and platelet transfusions to replenish his counts."

When he was going through the process of a stem cell transplant, Roman needed even more blood and platelets to help him rebound.

"Post transplant, Roman needed an abundant amount of platelets because he came down with a side effect from transplant called Thrombotic Microangiopathy (TMA)," said Jody.

He was receiving platelets about every two days.

"If Roman did not get the blood and platelets that he needed throughout his entire protocol, he would not be where he is today," Jody said. "He is alive and breathing!"

Jody says she would love to have met the donors who helped save her son's life.

Roman Fariello  holding a sign saying "thank you for your loving support"

"I cannot put into words and stress enough how grateful I am to hear his feet hit the floor each and every single day and that is only because of the donors who gave him life."

Today, Roman is alive and well in large part because blood and platelet donors took the time out of their day to give a part of themselves.

For those who choose not to donate because they are afraid of needles or because they think it's not that important, Jody disagrees.

"One night while we were in his hospital room on the transplant unit at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Roman got a severe nosebleed," Jody said. "The problem was that he needed platelets."

His platelet count plummeted as the day drew on. An order for platelets was called in.

"But guess what: there were no platelets available for him," said Jody.

Roman's family chased him around with tissues for four hours as they waited for platelets to become available so his nose would stop bleeding.

"I would tell non-donors, you could have been the very one to help Roman's nose stop bleeding so severely," Jody said. "Seeing a child go through what Roman went through waiting for platelets was one of the scariest memories for me as a cancer mom.

Any child's life is way more important than your fears of needles, than your lack of time, etc. I ask you honestly, what if it were your child that needed life?"