As girls growing up in Menlo Park, Betsy McBride and her sister used to accompany their father when he donated blood at Stanford Blood Center (SBC). Betsy took the habit to heart, continuing to donate for SBC when she could. But until August 26, she had no idea how much blood donors would one day mean to her personally.
On that day, Betsy and her husband Steve, parents of two precious children – strawberry-blonde Ashlyn and curly-haired Austin – received news that no parents should have to hear. Their little boy, Austin, just three years old at the time, had been in and out of the doctor’s office for a few weeks. Everyone suspected antibiotic-resistant ear and sinus infections and inflamed adenoids. On August 26, though, they noticed that their happy, chatty boy’s smile looked lopsided. He wound up in the ER getting a CT scan, and the results were devastating: Austin had a tumor pressing up against his brain. Two days later, doctors at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital diagnosed him with Stage IV Burkitt’s Lymphoma, an aggressive, but treatable, cancer.