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Blood drive will repay sacrifice that changed lives

An Oklahoma Blood Institute blood drive scheduled for Saturday has a special meaning for the family of the child it’s named after.

The third annual Ella’s Army Blood Drive will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Central Mall. Named for a girl born with biliary atresia, a liver disease that prevents the organ from fully forming in newborns and infants, the drive has continually grown in popularity each year. Chelsey Gorgonlione, mother and blood drive organizer, said she saw this opportunity as a way to pay forward a sacrifice and donation that changed the lives of her daughter and family members forever.

“I felt it was important for me to give something back,” she said. “I didn’t know what, but I wanted to do anything I could to help. So I would go and donate blood any chance I could. While sitting there in a chair for an hour or two, I thought, why not have a blood drive?”

Gorgonlione and her husband were living in Kansas City, Mo. five years ago when she gave birth to Ella, her first daughter. What should have been a period of joy and excitement turned into a nightmare when Ella was diagnosed with liver disease at seven weeks old. The doctors told the couple their newborn daughter had biliary atresia, an extremely rare disease that prevents the livers of young infants between two and eight weeks-old from developing bile ducts, which are needed to break down fat.

The Lawton Constitution

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