The need goes on #9: Blood to sustain an active 4-year-old

In a pandemic, Khoen’s need for blood doesn’t just go on; it goes up.

April 7, 2020

Vancouver 4 year-old Khoen Yatchuk needs blood transfusions to manage a condition he was born with.

Vancouver 4 year-old Khoen Yatchuk needs blood transfusions to manage a condition he was born with

Four-year-old Khoen Yatchuk was born with hereditary spherocytosis, meaning his red blood cells are shaped irregularly, causing his immune system to attack and kill them. He needed his first blood transfusion as a three-week-old. So far, Khoen has had eight transfusions and will need more.

“When he gets a transfusion, it’s like he’s recovering before our eyes,” says Robyn Yatchuk, Khoen’s mother.

Khoen needs blood most when he gets sick, because that’s when his body attacks his red cells the most, so flu season or the current pandemic increase the chances he’ll need a transfusion. Because of his condition, just over a week ago he needed emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder and will possibly need his spleen removed in the next few years. Before a surgery, Khoen typically needs blood to increase his red cell counts.

“The need for blood doesn’t go away in a pandemic — and for people like Khoen, it can actually increase,” says Robyn. “Blood donors are absolutely critical, and we are so lucky to have this resource for him.”

Khoen is strong and fast. He loves sports and being a big brother to his two-year-old brother. He likes to be in charge, and he’s competitive and determined. He’s fascinated by any toy that crosses his path.

“Thanks to donors, Khoen is able to thrive despite living with a blood disorder,” says Robyn.


The risk of COVID-19 is requiring people across Canada to avoid many public spaces. However, blood products remain critical for patients, and our donor centres have enhanced measures for the safety of donors, staff and volunteers. Our website is updated daily with information about our response to COVID-19. To make an appointment you can download the GiveBlood app, call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at

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