Two years ago, Mariah Salomon of Coachella was attacked by the family dog. Then only two, Mariah suffered life threatening facial injuries with tremendous blood loss. Over the next several weeks, during intensive treatment to save her life, at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, Mariah required over 40 liters of blood products, including 50 units of red blood cells, 48 units of plasma and 16 units of platelets from many individual LifeStream donors. That translates into two 5-gallon water jugs of blood products for Mariah, who weighed only 26-pounds. This year’s theme “If We All Do A Little, We Can Change A Lot” is about community and saving lives like Mariah’s.

Part of Mariah’s face – from the tip of her nose to the top of her lip, including part of her left cheek – was missing. Thanks to quick thinking by Mariah’s mother, Veronica Pena, the missing tissue was located and quickly transported by Mariah’s grandmother to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital in a clean state. The goal – a team of surgeons would try to re-implant Mariah’s face.

Mariah underwent a delicate, 5-hour surgery and subsequent application of leeches to her face to assist in blood flow. Her entire blood volume was replaced many times over during the many days she was in pediatric intensive care.

Veronica, Mariah’s mother, is forever grateful to blood donors saving her daughter. “It was truly unbelievable, the amount of blood that Mariah lost and had to have replaced. It was like receiving an entirely new supply of blood each time. Every day, when I look at my daughter, I know how critically important it is to have blood supplies on hand for the community.”