• Mavs tough guy reflects on blood transfusion that saved daughter’s life

  • David Simoes is the toughest guy in the Central Hockey League.

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  • David Simoes is the toughest guy in the Central Hockey League.
    The Missouri Mavericks defender was given that honor in a vote by his peers in the 2011-12 Best of the Best tabulations.
    But nothing could prepare this tough guy for what he had to deal with in 2010.
    While practicing with the now-defunct Mississippi RiverKings, he found out that his wife Mary was having possible life-threatening complications with the birth of their daughter, Lucy.
    “We knew there were some problems, but when we found out that Mary was going to have an emergency cesarean section three months before Lucy’s scheduled birth date, we knew things were serious,” said Simoes, who can often be seen carrying Lucy out of the Independence Events Center following Mavericks home games.
    Mary was rushed to the hospital in Memphis, where she underwent the C-section.
    “I was scared, real scared,” said Simoes, who thinks nothing of dropping gloves at center ice to take on an opponent who has a 5-inch height and 40-pound weight advantage. “We got to the hospital and did some paperwork and Mary was taken to the operating room.”
    Lucy weighed just 1 pound, 20 ounces and her eyes were fused shut.
    “She wasn’t ready to come out,” Simoes said, “but we had to do it to make sure Mary and our baby were OK. When they brought her out, she made a little sound like a kitten – a little whimper – and I felt like things were going to be all right.”
    But the baby, who was a bluish hue that sent a chill down Simoes’ spine, was whisked away by emergency room personnel and she was placed on oxygen.
    “It was five hours before we knew anything,” Simoes said. “We’d ask about Lucy, but no one seemed to know what was happening. We kept asking, but never got any type of an answer. It was the longest five hours of our lives.”
    Soon, the Simoes were greeted by a doctor who told them that Lucy had survived the toughest part of her premature ordeal, but that there were the possibilities of many future problems.
    “She had a blood clot in her brain and that was a big concern, but it eventually went away,” Simoes said, “and there was the fear that many of her internal organs wouldn’t function properly. And she needed a blood transfusion – she needed that right away.”
    Simoes will never forget the difference the blood transfusion made in his daughter’s life.
    “She was pale, almost like a ghost, before she got that transfusion,” he said, “and after it, became a normal looking little girl. She was still so small. But she was pink and healthy and as long as I live I’ll believe that blood transfusion saved her life.”
    Page 2 of 2 - That’s why Simoes is now involved with the Red Cross, and was part of a wildly successful blood donor campaign as last Saturday’s Fan Fest.
    Mavericks fans were lined up to give blood throughout the event.
    “The Red Cross had to double its staff because so many people wanted to give,” Simoes said. “It was amazing. There was never an empty table and some fans had to be turned away because they just didn’t have the personnel to take care of all of them.”
    The Fan Fest ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the Red Cross stayed well past 4 to accommodate all the donors.
    “They received 115 units of blood, which was just amazing,” Simoes said. “And the funny thing is, those people will never know whose life they saved or who they helped.
    “Two and a half years ago, someone donated blood that saved my daughter’s life – and I don’t know who they are. But I wish I did, so I could thank them.
    “That’s why it’s so important for me to take this opportunity to thank the Red Cross, the Mavericks and everyone who donated at Fan Fest. I’ve played hockey for six years, and I know my playing days are winding down. If through my role as a member of the Mavericks I can raise the awareness of the need for blood in our community, I’ll do it any time I am asked.
    “As I held Lucy in my arms Saturday and looked at all the people giving blood, I wondered if there wasn’t a Lucy that they were saving. It was a pretty special moment.”

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