Denise Domaille, daughter of Dennis, was first in line to donate at the blood drive that kicked off Tuesday morning in Mammoth Lakes. (Photo: Kirkner)
When her dad was severely burned in a propane tank explosion two years ago, Denise Domaille had to deal with an experience kids know is inevitable but don’t want to think about: the reality that your parent could die.
Denise’s father, Dennis was filling a tank at the Whoa Nelli Deli/Mobile Mart on July 9, 2008 when the explosion occurred. Denise, who manages the Mobile Mart, was the one to help hose her father down as his skin peeled from his body and ride with him to Mammoth Hospital after he had been packed in ice. She was the last one to speak with him in that ambulance before he lost consciousness for three and a half months. (Check out The Sheet’s interview with Dennis 10 months after his accident for a full account of what happened.)
While unconscious, Dennis developed a rare blood condition called Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, or TTP. According to the National Institute of Health, TTP “causes blood clots to form in small blood vessels throughout the body. These blood clots can cause serious problems if they block blood vessels and limit blood flow to the brain, kidneys, or heart. Blood clots form when blood cells called platelets (PLATE-lets) clump together. Platelets are made in your bone marrow along with other kinds of blood cells. They stick together to seal small cuts or breaks and stop bleeding. In TTP, when blood clots form, there are fewer platelets in the blood. This can cause bleeding into the skin (purpura), prolonged bleeding from cuts, and internal bleeding. It also causes small blood clots to form suddenly throughout the body, including in the brain and kidneys.”
Since the most common treatment for TTP is blood exchange and Dennis went through 500 pints of blood during his treatment, the Domailles have a new respect for blood drives, which is why Denise was the first participant at the Blood Drive at the Mammoth Lakes Fire Station 1 on Main Street on the morning of Oct. 19.
“We really appreciate everyone coming out,” Denise told The Sheet, which is why the family still gives a free fish taco dinner at the Whoa Nellie Deli to anyone who donates.
“I have donated blood about five times,” Denise said, as the needle protruded from her arm and the bag below her steadily filled with red liquid. “I did it before my dad’s accident but now I make it a frequent thing.” Denise did not believe her dad was able to donate his own blood anymore because of the TTP.
The blood drive kicked off Oct. 19 and runs through Thursday, Oct. 21. Times for Oct. 19 and 20 are from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. This year, as an added incentive on top of the fish tacos, United Blood Services will reward the business that brings in the most donors for the blood drive. To schedule an appointment, log on to www.BloodHero.com and enter Sponsor Code: SNOW, or call 760.937.9911.