Katie-Belle Cooley

Best Friends For Life

Ask 5-year old Katie-Belle Cooley who her best friends are, and she’ll say, “Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma!” Ask her mom Karen the same question, and she’ll say “all the people who helped save my daughter’s life!”

Katie-Belle was only eight months old when she was diagnosed with infant leukemia. Her parents were told she had a fifty percent chance of surviving to age three. The chances were just as grim that the cancer would reoccur even with intense chemotherapy treatments. During her first four months of treatment, she spent a majority of the time in the hospital, requiring weekly blood transfusions. On the day of her first birthday, Katie-Belle, who is A Positive blood type, needed an emergency transfusion. Thanks to an O Positive blood donor, which is a compatible blood type, she was able to receive the life saving donation.  In total, Katie-Belle endured twenty-two months of chemotherapy and received well over forty units of blood from donors in our community.  Today, two years later, she is in full remission and the chance that her cancer will return becomes considerably less with each passing day.

So where does Scooby-Doo come in? Katie-Belle went through a period of isolation after she contracted PCP pneumonia as a result of a suppressed immune system from her chemotherapy treatments. She spent eighteen days out of a six-week period heavily sedated and breathing through a ventilator. It was during this isolation at home that she became best friends with Scooby-Doo and the gang through watching hours of television and DVD’s. She has had Scooby-Doo themed birthday parties, has all the Scooby-Doo themed toys, and even visited Universal Studios, through the Make A Wish foundation, where she attended a private meeting with her “boyfriend” Shaggy and Scooby-Doo.

Katie-Belle’s ongoing story is shared with a full cast of family members including her parents, Karen and Stacey, as well as her nine-year old sister, Gina-Marie and eleven year old brother, Tristan.

When you give blood you give life. Katie-Belle’s story is one of many that have been written and are continuing to be written each day. These are the faces of those lives that are changed through the generous gift of those who donate.

Giving blood naturally connects your life to someone else’s life. Katie-Belle has her momentary, fictional friends but, thanks to many people who took time to donate blood, she also has very real friends for LIFE.