Can you help? Firefighter's son needs white blood cell donor

HOUSTON, Texas -- A Houston-area firefighter is putting out an urgent call to the public to help his son beat leukemia.

Eli Muller, 18-months-old, has been battling the childhood cancer since May. He had a setback this week with an infection.

Now, the clock is ticking to find a white blood cell donor.

Eli is the son of Community Volunteer Fire Department firefighter Eric Muller, and Eli's photos have been making the rounds on Facebook through his "Fight Eli Fight" page.

His parents shared on the page Thursday night that Eli is still febrile and continues to spike fevers every four to five hours.

The message was coupled with a photo of Eli in a diaper on the bed with his mom.

Eric says the only way for his son to beat his latest infection is by making white blood cells. If that doesn't work, he says they will opt for a transfusion.

"It's really tough to see him with 105 fevers," Muller said. "He shakes. We have to put cooling blankets on him. He throws the cooling blanket off. He's puking. He essentially lies there all day and whimpers."

MD Anderson Cancer Center is standing ready to help Eli, but it needs your help. You can go there and see if you're a white blood cell match.

"We're responsible for going out and finding donors because all of MD Anderson's blood banks don't have White Blood Cells," Muller said.

MD Anderson lists the requirements on its website, along with the blood donor centers you can visit.

When you go to the site, it explains that granulocyte donation is a three-step process. Granulocytes are white blood cells essential for fighting fungal and bacterial infections.

The first step includes a platelet prescreen and qualification. You can start by calling 713-792-7777 to schedule an appointment at any of their three fixed site blood donor centers:

Blood Donor Center at Holly Hall - 2555 Holly Hall Street, just east of Almeda Road
Blood Donor Center at Main Hospital - 1515 Holcombe, Floor 2, near Elevator D, B2.4603
Blood Donor Center at Mays Clinic (ACB) - 1220 Holcombe, Entrance 5, Floor 2, near the Tree Sculpture

Step two is the white blood cell pre-donation screening and medications. You don't need an appointment for that screening, but you should check in with them at the Holly Hall Blood Donor Center between 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. the day before your scheduled donation.

The granulocyte donation is step three. Expect that to take between 2.5 to three hours. Donations are only performed at the Holly Hall Blood Donor Center.

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