LITTLE Chloe Gray has become the youngest person in the country to have a special device fitted in her chest after her veins failed due to constant blood transfusions.
Every four weeks, the 15-month-old, who suffers from blood disorder Diamond Blackfan Anaemia, must undergo a transfusion just to stay alive.
But the constant procedure has left the Plains Farm youngster weak and exhausted.
The tot, who is the face of the Echo’s Chloe’s Call-Up campaign, has depended on blood transfusions her whole life, receiving her first two while still in the womb.
At one day old, she underwent a full blood exchange and since then has had to return to Sunderland Royal Hospital every four weeks for a lifesaving blood transfusion.
Mum Francesca, 20, said: “It doesn’t get any easier. I still can’t watch them doing it because she gets that upset. You never get used to it.”
Depending on her weight, Chloe usually receives more than a third of a pint of blood, which takes up to three hours to carry out.
“It’s a long day in hospital, but most of the time it doesn’t bother Chloe, she just gets on with it,” Francesca said.
“It never gets better for us, though.”
Now Chloe has had a special port fitted after her veins collapsed and disappeared due to being overused.
Medics carried out an operation that saw a tube fed through a cut in her neck.
It was then threaded through her heart valve and fed through to the port, which is implanted in her left chest.
The device makes it easier and quicker for medics to take blood and carry out the transfusions.
Parents Francesca and Craig Bowser hope by showing what their precious daughter has to go through to survive, more Wearsiders will back the campaign and give blood.
Francesca, of Plains Farm, added: “We want to show people what Chloe has to go through every month just to stay alive.
“It’s so important that people give blood because if it wasn’t for them there’s no doubt about it, Chloe wouldn’t be here.
“Giving blood is literally life-changing and is the difference between Chloe being here and not being here.
“She’s had to have blood since before she was even born and we were told when I was pregnant at 20 weeks that she wouldn’t survive more than 10 hours and if it wasn’t for people giving blood, she would have died.
“To live, Chloe has no other option than to have blood transfusions.”