SCV tried to help save Lily Whitaker

Lily with Mom, Danielle Whitaker.
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In the hours preceding the death of 8-year-old Lily Whitaker, as family and friends worked to promote their drive for blood donations, several Santa Clarita Valley rallied in an effort to do what they could.

Father, grandfather, great-grandfather Bill Statler had an appointment to donate blood Tuesday in Granada Hills.  He’s now cancelled that appointment.

Sadly, the man like so many other SCV people moved by Lily’s story, heard the news that she died Friday.

“I’m a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, and I’ve got little girls all over the place,” Statler told The Signal Tuesday.

“I really felt for the parents who were in such a dire situation,” he said. “Unfortunately, no one could save her.”

After a battle with Adenoviruses and heart problems, 8-year-old Lily Whitaker passed away at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles on Friday.

The Santa Clarita girl went into cardiac arrest last week on Tuesday at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles after doctors discovered excess fluid around her heart.

Doctors were concerned that bleeding in Lily’s heart wouldn’t stop and while they were giving her blood, she was also losing too much.

The urgent need for blood prompted an overwhelming response from the people of SCV.

Charmaine Jones, a 35-year-old mother in the Santa Clarita Valley, tried to donate blood Friday.

Jones was spurred to act, she said: “Because it’s a child and she’s fighting for her life.”

When Gayle Snell, who works at the UCLA Medical Center, learned of Lily’s ailment and her struggle, and about the drive to collect blood, she tried to organize a specialized van capable of accepting donated blood that could drive to prospective donors in the SCV.

“We do have blood mobiles,” she said Thursday. “But, we don’t usually do this.”

After an afternoon of trying to make the plan work, Snell called The Signal to say she had been successful in finding such a van.

A day later, however, all the efforts were in vain.

But, as Lily’s mother, Danielle Whitaker told The Signal this past weekend: “It’s really important for people to keep (donating).

“There’s other people on that hospital ward that are in need. Knowing Lily, she would want us to continue on.”

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on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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