Kendall Burrows was diagnosed at age three and suffered from a rare autoimmune disease known as Evan’s syndrome, which is when the body makes antibodies that destroy red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. Patients with Evan’s contract thrombocytopenia and Coombs’ positive hemolytic anemia and have no other known underlying etiology. The specific cause for Evan’s syndrome is unknown and there have been no genetic links identified although her mother Deborah also has Evan’s.
Throughout her lifetime, Kendall was in and out of remission with Evan’s. When in remission, she was a happy, normal little girl that enjoyed a plethora of activities, including contact sports and all forms of dance. When her blood levels were reduced to life-threatening numbers, she was unable to participate and was often hospitalized and needed monitoring, resulting in many forms of therapy including a splenectomy, chemotherapy, plasmapheresis, intravenous immune globulin, and high doses of steroids. She was a model patient although she did tend to give her doctors a run for their money. She required hundreds and hundreds of blood transfusions in her short lifetime. In the last three weeks of her life, she needed 50-60 units of blood a day to stay alive. Her family never had to worry about the blood supply, each day boxes arrived from all over the country and helped to sustain her through her ordeal.
As a thank you, her family had organized a blood drive with the American Red Cross at Dulaney High School. Unfortunately, Kendall lost her battle to Evan’s the day before the blood drive. The media was instrumental in promoting this drive, and it is still considered to be the largest single donor blood drive in the history of the American Red Cross. Her family was present to thank everyone for their efforts.
Kendall Burrows impacted not only a family, but an entire community. The Kendall Burrows Foundation was formed in 1996 by the Burrows Family to build upon the strength and passion that Kendall exuded every day and set out to help other children facing similar challenges and eventually find a cure.