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Most people are familiar with the importance of regular blood donations in helping save lives.

Few people know about the importance of the apheresis treatment, a process of removing blood platelets from a person's blood and transfusing the platelets into a person needing them.Kalleen and Steve Lund of Provo recognize the importance. Apheresis donors are helping to keep their 10-year-old son, Tanner, alive and Wednesday Steve expressed thanks to those people who take the time to have their platelets removed from their blood.

He spoke during Intermountain Health Care's Blood Services annual corporate appreciation luncheon in Little America where companies that have sponsored a blood drive are honored.

Ordinarily, the luncheon features a person who has received large amounts of whole blood, but at this year's luncheon, the focus was on apheresis because donors are urgently needed, said Jeanine Boulden, donor resources coordinator for IHC Blood Services at LDS Hospital.

An apheresis treatment takes about 2 1/2 hours and requires a person to be hooked to a machine while the blood is removed. The blood goes through a machine that spins off the platelets and then the blood is recycled back into the person's body. "It's a painless procedure," said Boulden.

Steve Lund, a vice president of NuSkin International, said his company sponsors blood drives and he always supported them. But little did he realize the blood donations would play an important part in his life until Tanner was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer, in March 1995.

"It was the worst day of my life when I found out about it. When you're dealing with your children in a life-threatening situation, you would do anything to make it right," Steve said.

"Regardless of how much a family does, you still must rely on the community to provide hundreds of pints of blood and it's gratifying to know what the community did for your child," Steve said.

In a pre-luncheon interview, Kalleen Lund said her son's problems centered around a tumor near his kidney and cancer in his bones. On March 17, 1995, Tanner started having pains in his hip and a doctor told his parents it was growing pains.

Later, however, after several tests, the serious problems were diagnosed and soon, Tanner was in surgery. That was followed by chemotherapy treatments and in July Tanner had the tumor removed. In September he had a bone marrow transplant.

His mother said Tanner had a good response on his white blood cell count but needed red blood cells. So he went to Primary Children's Medical Center to get platelets every week and red blood cells once a month. Kalleen said the treatment frequency is going down and he gets a hospital checkup every two weeks.