8 September, 2023
Missy’s legacy lives on
THREE years ago, 13-year-old Missy Clarkson took her final breath after a long battle with four types of aggressive cancers, but today, her legacy still lives on through a cause that has helped save the lives of many young people like her.
Missy’s Donors has become a community of compassionate people nationwide who have rolled up their sleeves to donate blood, plasma and bone marrow.
With September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the group encourages people to do their part to save thousands of young lives by donating blood and plasma.
During treatment, Missy received nearly 200 bags worth of blood and plasma donations to help her battle acute lymphoblastic leukemia, myelodysplastic, which affects the bone marrow, and pure erythroid leukemia, a very rare cancer that affects 0.077% of 100,000 people.
Her mother, Anj Mittelstadt, said that throughout Missy’s journey, a friend of hers noticed the importance of blood donation and helped set up the beloved group.
“Missy's Donors was started by lifelong friend Bronwyn. When Missy was diagnosed with her first cancer in 2016 at the age of nine, Bronwyn wanted to help and did some research on what would help most,” she said.
“Turns out 34% of all donations with Lifeblood go directly to helping cancer patients, so she registered Missy's Donors, and in that first year, we saved 97 lives.
“There were many times in Missy's treatment where blood literally saved her life and also kept her strong enough to withstand the toxic nature of chemotherapy.
“Fast forward to 2023, and our amazing lifesaving community saved almost 15,000 lives!”
During Missy’s treatment, her condition was so rare and complicated that they couldn’t find the right match for bone marrow.
Searching high and low, the lack of donations with the right type of bone marrow left their family losing hope until they found Missy’s sister.