Phoenix, AZ (KTVK) — Donating blood is always an important thing to do, but on Sunday the donors actually got to meet the 11-year-old recipient.
“If they don’t have the blood, then I won’t live and I won’t be able to do the things I normally get to do,” said Mia McPoland, who was born with Diamond-Blackfan anemia, a rare disorder that prevents her body from producing red blood cells. She needs blood transfusions to survive.
“I go to the hospital about once a month to get a regular blood transfusion,” she said.
Mia has had 113 blood transfusions and she’ll need more throughout her life.
To attract donors, former UFC Champion Tito Ortiz came out to meet and greet fans at Paradise Valley Mall.
“As a father, I couldn’t imagine my child going through that,” Ortiz said.
He said Mia’s mother reached out to him on Twitter and asked if he would come to the blood drive.
“So we’re here today making this happen,” he said.
“I just want to give them such a big hug,” Mia said of the donors. “If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today doing the things I love, and I wouldn’t be talking to you, and I wouldn’t meet Tito, and I wouldn’t spend time with my family and friends. … Thank you for giving me the gift of life.”