BOSTON (CBS) — Alexander Whipple is just 17-months old, but he’s already had nine surgeries, 11 rounds of chemo and dozens of transfusions. That’s because he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer since he was 8-months old.

”He needs platelets because he’s having chemo for neuroblastoma and one of the side effects of chemo is that it drops your platelet levels,” said Alexander’s mom, Nancy. “He’s actually getting his sixth platelet transfusion of the week.”

Dr. Michael Kelly of Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center explains, “They need blood to make them feel better and platelets to lower the risk of bleeding.”

But there is often a shortage of both platelet and blood donations at this time of year because many people are sick, busy during the holidays or kept away by bad weather.

“We found out that his surgery was delayed because they had to get platelets from another hospital,” said Nancy. “So we want to help get the word out.”

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports.

“It’s hard we want him to be home for Christmas but without platelets and without blood, we don’t know if he’s going to be healthy enough,” said Alexander’s dad, Richard.

“Unfortunately we have a full unit of kids like Alexander and lots of kids who need transfusions,” said Dr. Kelly.

That’s why the Whipples are donating their platelets at the Red Cross blood center in Boston on Tuesday and they’re hoping to encourage others to as well. “It’s the giving season, we know times are tough people may not have money but they can give platelets,” said Nancy.

Doctors say platelet donors are desperately needed because unlike blood which is good for several weeks, platelets only last five days.

If you’d like to find out more about becoming a blood or platelet donor, call the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED CROSS or visit

Kate Merrill

Comments (32)
  1. Lee Wilfer d says:

    This is what I’m doing tommorow for Alex!
    Please Donate.

  2. A friend says:

    The Whipples are the most giving people I know. Please help this family and other families like them!

  3. Traci says:

    I saw this stoory on the news, I just brokedown in tears I knew right awway i wanted to help Alex no thinking twicee aabout it. PLEASE HELP this family and this little angel

  4. alex says:

    Is there a certain blood type that alex has? Can we donate directly to the hospital

  5. alex says:

    Is there. A bloodtype alex requires? Can we donate to him directly?

    1. Alexander's Aunt Lisa says:

      You cannot donate to Alexander directly but any donation of platelets or blood will help children like him.

  6. IRene Simas says:

    God Bless little Alex.

  7. Marie LaLumiere says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  8. bb says:

    Making my appointment now, prayers and best wishes to Alex and your family.

  9. Peter Bagley says:

    What Blood Type is Alex ?


  10. sas says:

    There are some hospitals that DO allow you to donate directly to a patient.. it is possible for those who want to look into it that you could…

  11. Maria says:

    Im going to donate for Alex. I cant imagine. Im so thankful for healthy children. God Bless Alex and his family

  12. Sweet Pea's Dad says:

    My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Alexander and his parents a couple of months ago in the bone marrow transplant unit at the Floating Hospital ~ he is even more precious in person. There is no substitute for blood, the only supply is from healthy unselfish donors. About 1 hour of your time can help up to 3 people. When our daughter Alexandra was undergoing treatment at the Floating she would recieve 4 transfusions out of 1 pint, we now hold 2 blood drives each year in her memory, the supply was always there for her and we want to make sure it is there for everyone else ~ PLEASE in this season of giving make a pledge to become a regular donor ~ THANK YOU

  13. Karyn Shea says:

    We would really like to know what Blood type Alex is? And does it matter what type for platlet donation? Is there any particular blood type needed more than others….Im a rare B neg…

    1. Diane says:

      You rare b neg is important for red cell donation. Blood type doesn’t matter for platelets. There is no type on a platelet only on the red cell. Only in rare cases does a patient need hla typed platelets.

  14. Peggy Baczek says:

    I have O+ blood (univeral donor). Because of little Alex’s story, I am calling my local Red Cross Center tomorrow to donate platelets. I do wish I could donate to him directly.

  15. Jenn B says:

    I will be donating tomorrow afternoon. I hope more people will consider doing teh same.

  16. joyce johnson says:

    what blood type?

  17. Peggy Baczek says:

    I have an appointment tomorrow early afternoon. When I made my appointment, she asked if it was because of Alex, and needless to say I said, “Yes”.

  18. Richard whipple says:

    I am alexander’s dad and just finished giving platelets. it took almost two hours. When i though of this i was not asking for just Alexander but all of the children who have the misfortune of getting cancer. My wife and i have meet wonderful kids and families who are going through the same process of chemo therapy to get better.
    @ karyn if you have a rare blood type all the more reason to donate so that some the other child will get the blood and or platelets that they need.

  19. Nancy Whipple says:

    we are so happy that so many people have been moved by Alexander’s story! There is such a great need for so many people – kids and adults, and we are glad that have been able to help increase the donations! Thank you to all that can help – you WILL save a life!

  20. Sue Depatie says:

    My son is a Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma Cancer Survivor. I want to say, please keep the faith, and remember- donate blood Today— everyone who reads this. This will help save a child!!! My son, Daniel was diagnosed when he was 5, he is now 8- and is feeling amazing!!!! Miracles do happen!!!! Lets find a cure!

  21. Erin says:

    I love you! Thanks for raising awareness and furthering the cause. You never cease to inspire me. Love, Erin

  22. Alfred says:

    I did a Christmas Eve platelet donation and I am scheduled for a New Year Eve donation as well. Alexander is so beautiful. I am glad I can help!

  23. Diane says:

    Your platelets are needed all year long. The shelf life of platelet is only a few days. If it is convenient for you try to do it every 2 weeks. It is the best gift you can give to someone you will never meet.

  24. Jan Sylvester says:

    Can I donate blood/platelets other than in Boston? I live on the Cape and would love to help.

  25. pjwildes says:

    I have been a regular platelet donor for years after having been a regular whole blood donor for decades. I have a very high count, and my donation equals three usable doses. It is good to see so many showing interesting in this form of giving. There is a pheresis center in Manchester, NH also if Boston does not work for folks.

  26. Erika says:

    Alexander is a cutie ! Anything you can do for him could save his life. We all want to see him have a full recovery

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