Toddler gets 'super powers' from donated blood

SOUTH ELGIN, Ill. -- Averie Lazzara, a 3-year-old from South Elgin, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia eight months ago. She needed blood immediately.

"The chemotherapy that she gets is designed to wipe out the bad cancer cells, but a byproduct of that is that it wipes out the good cells too, so blood transfusions for us are so important," said Averie's mother, Stacey Lazzara.

The transfusions transform Averie almost instantly, making her feel stronger.

"She actually knows them as her super powers. When she comes in to get a blood transfusion, we say, 'We're just getting super powers today' because it's one of the things for her that she gets to walk away feeling a lot better when she leaves the clinic than when she came in," Stacey said.

Averie has about 18 months of treatment left at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.

"I think some of that innocence of being three and going through this actually really helps her through her journey because it gives her the strength to just get up, fight through it and to stay active," Stacey said.

Averie's strength is a source of inspiration for her mom Stacey and the rest of her family.

"I look at her and I think, 'If she can be this brave, how can I not?'" Stacey said. "Because if she's going through it with a smile, then we're all going to get through it with a smile. Because that's what she's inspiring us to do."

Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health, may be eligible to donate blood.
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