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Parents Fight for Baby Girl's Future - John Dunn

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ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. - Giving blood has become an essential lifeline for a nine month old baby girl. Emily Rodgers suffers from a rare blood disease. Her parents are fighting for her future.

You'd never know there was anything wrong with Emily Rodgers. "Emily is the happiest baby you'll ever meet," says mother Jennifer Rodgers.

There is no outward sign of the chronic blood disease, beta thalessemia major, which lowers her hemoglobin. She will need blood transfusions every few weeks for the rest of her life. "If her levels get too low than eventually her organs will start shutting down, and she'll die," says Jennifer Rodgers.

WATCH: Baby Girl's Life Depends on Blood Donations

Emily's parents not only plead for the O positive blood their daughter needs, but they also fight for research. The blood disease is so rare that the money to find a cure is hard to come by. "The money for those trials is very limited because of the rareness of the disease," says Jennifer Rodgers.

Emily's doctor knows the importance of blood donors and research. "It's a challenge for raising funds for research. It's a challenge for awareness. It's a challenge for misperceptions about the disease," says Dr. Michael DeBaun.

Emily's parents are beginning to raise money. Friends are helping to organize bake sales, and spaghetti suppers. A blood drive is planned for Memorial Day. "It's the one resource that we can give that's renewable, it comes back," says father Corey Rodgers.  

The Rodgers' have always known giving blood was important, but one look at their sweet little girl gives them a reason to fight.  "It changes your whole outlook on life period," says Corey Rodgers.

Right now Emily needs about six ounces of O positive blood every few weeks, but as she ages she will need much more.

A spaghetti dinner for Emily will be held Saturday, April 12 at Jackson's Chapel United Methodist Church community center on Highway 49 in Charlotte, TN at 5:00p.

A bake sale will be held beginning at 7:30a Friday, April 25 at the First Federal Bank on the square in Charlotte, TN.

A blood drive will be held for Emily at Rock Springs Free Will Baptist Church in Charlotte on Monday, May 26 from 9a-5p.

For more information about donating money, email Jennifer Rodgers at cjbrodgers15@yahoo.com

CLICK HERE to learn more about giving blood.

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