Genevieve Skinner appears to be a typical 15-year-old girl who keeps a calendar full of activities and enjoys spending time with family and friends. To her parents, Gary and Ann, she is very special. She is a miracle.
Ann suffers from a rare blood disorder called hypofibrinogenemia/Factor I deficiency. The disorder put her at high-risk during her pregnancy with Genevieve. Doctors worried she wouldn’t carry to term. But Ann and Gary took a chance at making their dream of having a family come true. They agreed to a treatment requiring Ann receive multiple infusions of cryoprecipitate each week through the duration of her pregnancy. Cryoprecipitate is one of several components of whole blood that can be transfused from plasma.
The treatment Ann received was a success. Thanks to Ann’s infusions, she was able to deliver a healthy baby girl. Nearly five years later, the Skinner family experienced another miracle when they welcomed their daughter Claire. Ann had more blood transfusions while carrying Claire.
Gary Skinner credits blood donors for helping bring his babies into the world. “If it weren’t for the blood supply, we wouldn’t have our two little girls.”
Now the Skinner family pays it forward by hosting blood drives at their church. Genevieve leads the charge to collect blood donations by recruiting donors and educating the congregation about the importance of blood donations.
“I enjoy leading. I always try to give back to the community, and there is pride in knowing that I was a part of it,” Genevieve said. It’s her goal for others to understand the importance of giving blood. “It’s amazing how people [are] impacted and helped. I feel like I should do what I can to help.”
The Skinner family hosts three blood drives at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church every year and have been doing so for more than a decade. In the last 10 years, the church has collected about 2,750 units of blood and hopes to continue this effort for years to come. The next drive will be held on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 4, from noon to 6 p.m.
Genevieve has a simple message for those who have considered giving blood but are afraid of needles: “Donating blood helps people more than it hurts you.”