Stories from our donor community
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the donors.” Jim Bluey has thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a rare blood disorder. During a flare up or relapse, his platelet count drops to extremely low levels. Treatment is a plasma exchange, and because he’s a bigger guy, Jim needs 18 to 22 individual plasma bags for every exchange. Because of this, he thanks blood donors every opportunity he gets. “Every time they hang a bag of plasma up, I think about how someone took an hour out of their day and took a needle – nobody likes needles – and let themselves be hooked up to a machine. Because of them, my kids have a dad and my wife has a husband.”
Blood donation saved my mom, grandma and oldest brother. My grandmother was internally bleeding. We didn’t know until it was almost too late. Blood donation kept her here with us longer, until she gained her wings. My brother’s caffeine addiction lead to severe internal bleeding, but with blood donations he survived. My mom had a massive stroke and blood disorders and wasn’t expected to live. She received many transfusions and we had her for an extra eight years! I feel it necessary to give back. You don’t realize the influence you have by just taking a little time out of your day to donate. You are saving lives!!!!
November 2017, my boyfriend and I found out we were expecting. We had been trying for six months and were ecstatic. Our first ultrasound at about 10 weeks showed everything was fine. Less than a week later, I started spotting and was sent to the hospital. On December 8, we lost our baby. I was rushed to the hospital, I had lost so much blood. I was sent home to heal and start grieving, but over the next three days I continued to lose a lot of blood. A few days later when I went in for follow up blood work, my blood levels were 4.3. I again was rushed to the hospital and immediately hooked up to an IV. By this time I was so weak that I couldn’t even stand up on my own or make any words come out of my mouth. They said I was almost dead when I was admitted. I received three bags of blood in a three-day stay at the hospital.
I was devastated that we lost our child, but at the same time I was so grateful for the amazing people who take time out of their days to donate blood. They literally saved my life. I am here today with my almost 6-year-old daughter and my fiance because of blood donors. It’s the greatest gift that people do for complete strangers. Thank you blood donors for doing what you do and saving so many lives on a daily basis. When I am able to donate again in one year, I will for sure be doing so.
As a teen, I was diagnosed with a cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. Chemotherapy and surgery helped me get better, along with blood transfusions. I remember going to surgery a lot, and some of those surgeries required transfusions. Whenever I got a cold I had to get a transfusion because my blood wasn’t strong enough to fight it off.
Today, I’m 25, healthy, and studying to be a middle school social studies teacher. I would like to thank the people who donated back when I was sick, and encourage people who are on the fence about donating. I’m glad people came and donated when I needed blood, but people also need to give that chance to patients they may not know that need blood.
I used to be scared of blood; my son used to be scared of blood. Then Steven was diagnosed with cancer at age 14. I was more scared to lose my son’s life, so I began donating blood.
Now that Steven’s better, I’m trying to draw people’s awareness. Blood donations really help. Everybody does not die. I don’t want people to look at it as it’s okay to give one time. I want them to be committed to give. You never know who’s going to have a child that needs blood. All lives matter.
The devastating news I received on March 15, 2016, changed my life in an instant: “You have breast cancer.” Chemo treatment was rough – side effects included thrush and mouth sores, nosebleeds that wouldn’t stop, pain and fatigue. At one point, my weekly bloodwork showed an extremely low platelet count. In order to receive chemo, your platelets have to be above 100,000 and mine were 9,000. My boyfriend and I headed to the emergency room for a platelet transfusion, only to be told I had to wait for a while because platelets had to be driven to the hospital from two hours away!
I can personally attest to the importance of platelet donation. It is often just as important as blood donation to someone going through chemo, because they are needed to clot the blood. Chemo sometimes affects the bone marrow and the body’s ability to produce platelets. This is the reason my nose would not stop bleeding. My experience of needing platelets, as well as two additional blood transfusions, shows how we need that push for platelet donation. They can truly save a cancer patient’s life!
In September of 2015, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). I started treatments immediately, which included many units of red blood cells and platelets over the next several months. I used to donate blood a lot when I was younger, but now I understand what a gift that is. It’s life saving, and anonymous, the true essence of giving. Is there anything else like it?
In January 2016, my work colleagues sponsored a blood drive in my honor that collected about 100 units of blood. I can’t describe the feeling of watching family, friends, and colleagues give this gift to another anonymous recipient. More indescribable was when my son donated his marrow to me in February 2016. Everything has gone great so far. I will will likely need future blood and platelet donations to sustain me through my treatments. I will do what I can to pay the gift forward!
I was headed to Erie for my cousin’s wedding when I was in a bad car accident. I don’t remember anything from the accident, but I ended up rolling the car and was ejected. I have a large scar on my arm from a gash that I got. I broke my pelvis in eight places that required two surgeries to fix. I ruptured my spleen and had to have emergency surgery to remove it. From all my injuries, I went into hypovolemic shock. Receiving blood transfusions is a part of why I’m still alive today. I was a donor before my accident. I was going through nursing school and knew the good it could do. Now, I really know the good it does.
All the while I was pregnant with my son I often thought of all of the things that could go wrong with him. Not once did I think what could go wrong with myself. After I delivered a healthy baby boy, I was bleeding profusely. No one knew why until I was put into surgery and my wonderful doctors realized that my uterus had torn in half and I was bleeding from inside out. If it weren’t for blood donations and the capability to do a blood transfusion I would have never made it. I never realized how important it is to donate blood and now I do it as often as possible.
My daughter Kambreigh was born 12 weeks premature by emergency C-section, only 3lbs 12oz, and could not breath on her own, maintain her own temperature or feed. After a few days in the NICU, the doctors noticed she was becoming very pale and was having a hard time surviving. She needed a blood transfusion to help her body produce enough blood to maintain a healthy level. Within a week, she had received three bags of blood. I was a match to her blood type, so I did donate to help, but the first transfusion was emergency so thankfully a fellow donor had donated. If there weren’t people out there willing to save someone’s life, Kambreigh would not be here today. Thank you for all the donations!
My little brother was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma when I was 13 years old. I couldn’t do much to help him then but I can help those who need blood now. My brother is doing well and has been in remission for nine years. Because of his treatment, he can’t donate but I can, and do, continue to donate. By donating double reds as often as I can I feel like I am doing my part to help others become well. With every donation I get to help save someone’s life. Please join me in donating!