How a Winnipeg teen inspired a high school to donate blood

A Winnipeg teen, who battled a serious blood disorder that required more than 300 blood and platelet transfusions, has continued to inspire students to give back over four years after her death.

Madison Claven-Enns was determined to graduate high school from John Taylor Collegiate.

“She absolutely loved that school and saw herself as a piper through and through,” said her mom Stacey Kent.

But walking across that stage to get her diploma came with added challenges for the teen, Claven-Enns was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia at eight years old.

“Her bone marrow shut down and she could no longer produce red cells, platelets or white cells,” Kent said.

Over the next seven years she underwent drug therapy treatment and two bone marrow transplants.

“Throughout that entire time every two weeks she needed red cells and every three days platelets donated from someone else’s blood as she couldn’t make them herself,” Kent said.

So students at her high school started a blood drive in her name.

Teacher Tara Shepherd recalls droves of students and staff organizing and taking part.

“We as a school came together and had clinics for blood and stem cells,” said Shepherd.

It’s a tradition still being carried out today.

“I didn’t know it was a thing and when I heard her story I realized it was really important to be there,” said Grade 12 student Mariah Nash.

On July 10, 2015 at 18 years old, just two weeks after she beat the odds and graduated high school, Claven-Enns died.

It’s not the outcome anyone wanted, but looking back her mother can’t help but feel grateful for the gift of blood donations.

“It gave me an almost another nine years with her,” she said. “I would’ve gladly taken many more,”