Camp Carroll soldiers help a sick child
Six Camp Carroll soldiers are being honored for stepping up when a local South Korean family turned to the American Red Cross and the Army as a last resort in helping a sick child.
The soldiers, all members of the 307th Signal Battalion, share something other than being in the Army: They all have relatively rare type A RH-negative blood. And for Lee Hyung-soo, a Taegu third-grader, that trait might help save his life.
Hyung-soo suffers from leukemia, and part of his treatment since March requires monthly blood donations from five different people who share his blood type.
When Dongsan Hospital officials in Taegu were having a hard time coming up with enough matching donors each month, Lee’s family looked elsewhere for help.
Park Jung-ok, Hyung-soo’s aunt, first approached the Korean Association for Children With Leukemia and Cancer.
“My nephew is going through treatment for leukemia and he needs type A RH negative blood. It’s very rare type of blood and we’ve been unsuccessful trying to find people with the same blood type. Please help us out, please,” she wrote in a message posted on the group’s Web site.
The plea sparked memories of U.S. soldiers coming to the aid of another family with a stricken child.
“When my son was suffering from leukemia, I used to know a family who also had a child with a rare blood type and they got some help from people at Camp Hialeah. I remembered that, so I looked into asking for help from U.S. Army community in Taegu,” Jung Jung-ae, the association’s vice president, said in an interview with Army public affairs officials.
Jung said she called the Area IV Red Cross and the Area IV Chaplain’s Office seeking help. Maj. James Choi, the 307th Signal’s chaplain, put out a call to first sergeants asking for volunteers with the same blood type.
Soldiers from the battalion’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Company A, and Company C matched the type and volunteered to donate their blood for the boy.
It was complicated, though: Only 6 percent of Americans have that blood type, and restrictions on where they’ve lived might disqualify them from donating.
Pfc. Nick Wyson was among those who volunteered. He’s donated blood three times to help the Lees, saying it’s just his way of helping someone in need.
Though Hyung-soo is still battling the disease, the blood donations have helped in his treatments.
“It’s been a tremendous help for Hyung-soo and the whole family,” Moon Myung-rang, the boy’s mother, told Army officials.
“I am truly thankful. We’ve been having a hard time trying to find a donor since it’s such a rare blood type. Hyung-soo is doing quite well so far, although the treatment is not complete yet.”
Blood donors for Hyung-soo and others are still being sought.
For more information, contact the Dongsan Hospital International Clinic at DSN 768-7497.