Connor Block

Connor Block

Paying it forward saves boy


Connor Block may only be 7-years-old, but he knows firsthand why blood donations are important -- his life depends on them.

Connor has DiGeorge Syndrome, often called 22q in reference to the deleted gene that causes the disorder, and the genetic syndrome has impacted his life significantly.

He suffers from an airway defect, a swallowing disorder, a heart defect called Dilated Aortic Root, hearing loss, developmental delays and a primary immune deficiency. As a result of his deficient immune system, he has endured dozens of hospital visits, surgeries and rounds of antibiotics over the course of his short life.

But in November of 2012, Connor’s life changed with the start of regular doses of IV immunoglobulin -- one dose of which is harvested from a thousand blood donors. 

“He’s a totally different kid now,” says Samantha Block, Connor’s mother. “Before November of 2012, the longest Connor had gone without antibiotics and hospital stays was six weeks. But since he started the weekly injections of IVIG, he’s had one round of antibiotics, one hospital visit and no surgeries.”

Samantha maintains that Connor’s health improvements would not be possible without the generosity of blood donors and she is grateful for those who give their time and blood to help others.

“Of course, I have to say thank you,” she said. “These donations are changing the life of at least one little boy. For once, Connor is living a normal life and he can be a little boy who plays with friends, goes to school, has sleepovers, goes camping -- everything little boys should do. I encourage everyone who is able to consider donating blood, knowing that you could be helping a child like Connor live life to its fullest!”

And even though Connor himself can’t donate blood, others are willing to pay it forward in his honor.

“My dad, Jeff Duma of West Chester, is a regular Hoxworth donor,” says Samantha. “He called after his most recent donation and told me that he was able to donate in Connor’s name."