When you donate blood you may not know the people it is going to help, but officials say those donations do save countless lives.
One of those lives belongs to a five–year–old Holdrege boy, Grayson Popple.
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome attacked Grayson's red blood cells, requiring him to receive life-saving blood transfusions. And while the disease is not common, anyone can get it.
"In 2012 he got Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome and was presented with flu like symptoms," said Ashley Popple, Grayson's mother. Within just a couple of days those symptoms that doctors said would just go away began to worsen.
"We took him to the doctor for the second time and they ran more testing and his labs came back worse and it showed that he was going into kidney failure." They had to rush him to Children's Hospital, "In Omaha… Cause I got sick," said Grayson.
"Basically he had bacteria that was attacking his bloodstream, which attacked his organs," explained Ashley. She says she would have done anything to help make the pain go away, even putting out her own arm. "In his condition, they just suggested we use blood that was already donated because he needed it that bad," Ashley said.
Grayson said, "It saved my life!"
A day they sure will be thankful for. "His first blood transfusion, that was on Thanksgiving and he had a lot of change after that," said Ashley.
The illness that struck Grayson, or simply the need for multiple blood transfusions can happen to anyone.
"It still doesn't seem real, that it really even happened," said Ashley.
Luckily for Grayson, that hole in his arm where the blood pumped in is healed up so he can once again shoot some hoops with his friends.
Grayson's family never found out what caused his sickness. Children are more susceptible to it, but are able to fight it off better than adults. Doctors said Grayson's illness could come back and if that happens, he'll likely need more donated blood.