Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cancer Survivor Tells Story, Gives Back Through Blood Drive
By Catalina Trivino

It's a story of survival -- a man was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2004 and since then, he's received countless life-saving blood transfusions. And now, he's giving the gift of life back by holding a blood drive...

Chris Dunkin was diagnosed when he was only 32-years-old. It's been a rollercoaster battle he's been fighting for the last nine years.

"You never think that it's going to be you that has cancer," Said Dunkin.

It was that moment on January 29, 2004, when Chris Dunkin's whole life changed. Doctors diagnosed him with Chronic Myelocytic Leukemia. If he didn't get an exact match of a bone marrow transplant, he was going to die.

At first, the transplant was a success. Red and white blood cell counts were going up. He was gaining strength -- until the bone marrow started rejecting his body.

"Because of the steroids I was on, the diabetes... that was tough. Just trying to get that under control. The hips' replacements, brittle bones... just breaking from walking. You bump your tow and it breaks," Said Dunkin.

Chemotherapy was the next step, but 36 treatments later he felt ready to give up. Doctors gave Chris only six weeks to live -- but he wasn't ready to quit being a dad.

"I wanted to see him grow up," Said Dunkin about his now 12-year-old son, Tanner.

Chris is now 41 years old, still fighting Leukemia. On Thursday, he hosted a blood drive for the hundreds of blood transfusions he's received over the years, hoping to give back the gift of life.

"I've had several transfusions and platelets and different things like that and we've always taken for granted that whenever I needed it it would be there," Said Dunkin.

Chris tells me doctors have never really known HOW he's been recovering, after giving him six weeks to live, but he thinks it's prayer, family and love that have kept him alive.