MESA, Ariz. -- An 11-year-old girl received her 111th blood transfusion this week and she's thanking those who give blood for keeping her alive.
Mia McPoland was born with Diamond Blackfan Anemia, a rare blood disorder that prevents her body from producing red blood cells. This means that McPoland needs blood transfusions every three to four weeks just to stay alive.
"If they didn't donate, I guess I wouldn't be alive," McPoland said. "I wouldn't be able to do the things I love to do like being with my sisters, being with my friends and spending time with my family."
Stories from those like Mia McPoland have extra relevance this time of year, as blood donations drop by as much as 25% during the summer months, according to a release from United Blood Services Arizona.
In particular, UBS is looking for those with Type O blood, the universal blood type. When someone's blood type isn't available for a transfusion, Type O can be substituted.
To encourage people to donate throughout the summer, particularly around Independence Day, Whataburger is giving out a voucher for a free Whataburger to anyone who donates blood between June 30 and July 7.