WOODWAY, Texas — It is easy to find McKenzie Covert with a big smile on her face, even though she faced several challenges in her young life since she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2015.
“She was first diagnosed a few weeks before her fourth birthday. She had to go to two and a half years at chemotherapy. Which was very tough on her body,” said McKenzie's father Jeff Covert.
After years of treatments, complications and hospital stays, her father Jeff says his 10-year-old fifth-grader is doing just fine.
“That was a long two and a half years. She stopped treatment in January 2018. We are almost five years post-treatment and she is still considered in remission, so it is a blessing,” said Jeff.
The Woodway resident says one of the biggest reasons his daughter is recovering so well is because of blood transfusions.
“Those are very, very important to her during treatment, because her body was being decimated by the chemo. Whenever her counts get too low, They have to have lead products to keep up her fight against the cancer and the chemo,” said Jeff.
It's why local first responders in Waco are holding the Battle of the Badges Blood Drive; a friendly competition between Waco Police, Waco Fire, and the McLennan County Sheriff's Department to encourage people to give blood to help McKenzie and many others like her.
“One donation can save up to three adult lives and six infant lives. Really at the end of the day, even though we’re competing for the trophy, we’re all winners because we’re all giving back to the community,” said Waco Police Department Public Information Officer Cierra Shipley.
As a first responder himself with the Fort Worth Fire Department, Jeff sees accidents happen every day, which is why he says your donations can be life-saving.
“[People] are used to never donate blood, but now since my eyes were opened up with her situation, I always go donate blood regularly through Carter Bloodcare as well. You never know who could utilize your blood,” he said.