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The sweet feeling of paying back Red Cross
The sweet feeling of paying back Red Cross giving blood story March 2012
I gave my first pint of blood when I was 17 years old. I am now in the 12 gallons range. However, there were many more pints given with no record. As a boy in the 1950’s in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania blood was drawn in the name of the person for whom you were giving it. If they were lucky enough for friends or family members to donate it in their name, they would not have to pay as much as 60 dollars a pint in addition to administering charge. When I moved to Connecticut in 1966 I had given several pints before being aware of records being kept.
Then in 1968 I was in terrible automobile accident which resulted in my being in the hospital for 40 days with traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to a fractured skull, fractured jaw on both sides, lacerated right arm, ruptured intestines resulting in four feet of lower bowl removal. After a couple of days due to the inflamed stomach and ruptured intestines peritonitis to infected my body. Then my brain started to swell and I was rendered unconscious for 21 days. 31 pints of blood were pumped into me during these 21 days. One nurse told me that she and a couple of other nurses had donated their blood for me which was immediately tested so they could pump the warm blood into me, similar to the old World War II transfusions direct flow method. They said a blood line was inserted in my lower leg just above my left ankle to pump blood into and a tube down my throat to my bleeding stomach to take it out. Back then I was told they didn’t have acid blockers for GERD; therefore my stomach became one solid bleeding ulcer. As fast as they pumped blood into me it was coming back out via the stomach pump. My family was told that I may not survive and since I was registered as an organ donor to prepare them to donate my organs. I am all for donating all of my body parts, but not until I am done using them!
I woke up to a scary world. I looked out the window and could only see the tops of the trees waving in a gentle breeze. There was a strange smell that reminded me of the doctor's office. I quickly looked around to survey my surroundings and recognized that I was in a hospital bed.
I touched my jaw with my left hand since I was not able to move my injured right arm. I was surprised to find that I had grown a beard. It seemed to have grown a half foot long overnight although it was only about two inches of whiskers. The nurses cheered saying, “Welcome back.” When I asked my nurse how long I was asleep she replied, “Oh just a little while.” This terrified me because when I looked out the window to see the tops of the green trees waving in the breeze and I remembered my comment to my wife just before the accident of how the trees were only in bud and no green was apparent. I immediately thought a hundred years had passed and my family and their families were a long time dead. I wallowed in my silent anguish afraid to ask. Several hours went by; then in came my family and I cried for joy. Little did they know the real reason for my tears of joy until later.
My doctor later told me that I had put him through two years of medical school dilemmas in trying to figure out how to stop my bleeding. He said none of the scenarios seemed to work until he remembered his experience in one Navy basic training class. The Navy tested sailors’ ability to cope with fast action and when they were placed in a structure that simulated a leaking burning ship had to react to stop the leaks. He was illuminated with a flashing idea! He quickly had baby food sent up from Dietary department and pumped into my stomach. He said the food acted as a compress and helped absorb the acid. So basically he treated me like his sinking burning ship and was successful in rescuing me. This stopped the bleeding and gave me a chance.
So now I am replenishing the supply of blood I used plus extra and continuing to give whenever I can.
Frank working toward 13 gallon mark with proud 12 years old grandson David James as cheering squad looking
The Receiving End
I have been a red cross blood donor since my Senior year of high school. My first donation was a little difficult due to a moving vein, but was eventually successful and I continued to give blood through the years , even though I was turned down several times due to low iron. Thankfully, I have been healthy, but eventually I needed a surgery in December 2013. What would have been a 2-3 hour surgery turned into approximately 6. The surgery went well, but within the next 36 hours, caregivers began to realized i was going to need a blood transfusion, the first ever in my life. I was a little nervous, but starting to realize how important a blood donor really was in the life of a patient in need. After much prayer friends and family, and a two unit transfusion, I started to improve greatly, and was finally able to go home a couple of days later to join my family for the Christmas season. I thank God for the gift I received this past Christmas through a generous blood donor, and for my continued good health. If you have never given blood, and are healthy and able, please consider it today!
A Blood Donation Saved our baby girl
After a long a scary labor my daughter Molly Clare was born via emergency C-Section. When she was taken up to the nursery it was discovered that she was severely anemic. She was rushed to the NICU at the hospital and it was determined that she would need a blood transfusion. Thanks to a selfless act of a stranger my daughter was given the blood she needed to survive. My husband and I wish we could personally thank who ever donated their blood that saved our baby girl! My husband and I do not take this for granted and have dontated blood regularly since our daughter was born since we experienced first how how important blood dontation really is. Our little girl is a happy healthy 3 year old and we still thank god every day for the American Red Cross and her donor.
When I was 9 months old, I was bleeding to death in the hospital because of a rare, inherited blood disorder. The doctors didn't know what was wrong, but, as a last resort, they gave me a blood transfusion. It is because of that transfusion that I am alive today. In addition, for many years after, I received a treatment based on donated blood product that allowed me to live a semi-normal, happy life.
Now, I am a sophomore in high school. I am writing a persuasive speech on blood donation and I thought this would be a good time to thank all donors for giving me, and people like me, the chance to live my life. I am a writer for the yearbook, the manager of the fencing team, and a teenager who loves friends and life. My 16th birthday is in 3 days, and I wouldn't have been able to live the last 15 years without you. Even though your donations did not save me personally, I know that without blood donations I would not be here. So thank you for your generosity, and please continue to give. I appreciate it very much :)
Dan and Cindy
Did Your Donation Save our Little Girl?
by Dan and Cindy
When our daughter--Ainslie--was born, it was not an easy event. After 36 hours of labor, including 12 hours of pushing, Ainslie was born via emergency c-section and needed to be airlifted to the closest Newborn Intensive Care Unit, which was 900 miles away. Life in Alaska is difficult for many reasons, and on the day she was born, there was a huge storm that kept her flight from leaving for hours. Once they finally got into the air, the NICU nurse on-flight noticed Ainslie having seizures, so as soon as they landed in Anchorage, she was rushed to the hospital where they realized she was bleeding into the space between her scalp and skull--a space large enough to hold half of a newborn's blood. She was given a blood transfusion and stabilized, and today she's a beautiful and thriving toddler!
If Ainslie hadn't been able to receive that transfusion, she would have bled to death inside her own body. Were you the one that gave the blood that saved our little girl? We thank you from the very bottom of our hearts, and we will never be able to thank you enough. On our own behalf and on behalf of all NICU parents: Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Saved My Life
When I was 11 I had a major surgery. It did not go as planned and I needed two blood transfusions. I am type 0- and no one in my family had the same type as me. Because of caring people that donated I am alive today and healthy. They saved my life and now I'm here to save others lives.
People Like Me
I was born with Von Willebrand's Disease- a bleeding disorder very similar to hemophilia, but different in that it occurs in males and females. All my life I have struggled with intense bruising, spontaneous nosebleeds, and month-long menstruation. The several times I have had surgery or internal hemorrhaging (which sometimes occurs with the flu or if I am on too much medication), I have recieved blood product like Humate. I have been lucky enough to not need a transfusion, but the blood product I recieve comes from donor blood. I make a point to thank donors whenever I see the Red Cross set up because I know that their blood is going to people like me.
Your Blood Saved Me
by Eric C.
I am grateful for ALL who have ever given blood. As a boy I was diagnosed with a rare type of anemia called Diamond Black Fan Syndrome. I started receiving blood from the very beginning and every time after my CBC count was normal as was my energy. The one and only drawback was I was receiving one every month on average. Then seeking a longer term solution I was given every pill starting in 2nd grade, none of which helped. The steroids had me gain weight to where in 4th grade I was over 100 pounds. Finally as a family we decided going to visit UCLA once a month was best scenario, has a very good pediatric wing. Blood helped me to see these other children who had months to live and nothing but a smile on their faces, most faces at least. It showed me I had it good in some cases, my father and I often looked to see where the blood originated from and tried to imagine what selfless person donated a part of their life,time, and effort for a stranger. Then once a month turned to two, then three. Next I was only receiving blood twice a year maybe three until I had my last bags of blood donated, always as a precautionary before leaving for a family trip. Blood from someone I did not know but am so grateful for allowed me to visit Washington D.C. A trip I will never forget. Flying out of Baltimore we did some sightseeing like Babe Ruth's house and Manning museum before it burned down years later. Then as a catholic of faith we visited Saint Jude Shrine, my Saint name and the saint I wore around my neck since my birth. We said some prayers as a family and I thanked God and St. Jude for always being there. Those 2 bags I received before the trip were my last, I was 13. I am now 24 with a condition I share with less than thousand people around the world, a condition in which the life expectancy is 4-6 years of age. I am alive because of The Red Cross and the unimaginable number of people who have given blood since the very first donor, I thank you ,love you, and may God bless you all.
The Gift That Really Means Something
On May third, 2012, I was blessed with the birth of my second little girl, Cambrie. What should have been one of the best days of my life, turned out to be the scariest...
Shortly after she was born, I sensed that something just wasn’t right. The doctor informed me that she was having a hard time getting the bleeding to slow down. My uterus was not contracting efficiently enough, causing primary postpartum hemorrhaging. I was losing significant amounts of blood over a short amount of time. My physician tried everything she could but nothing seemed to work.
Before I had even seen her, Cambrie was taken from me, and I was surrounded by nurses, being rushed to the operating room. In that moment, all I could think about was my family. I couldn’t imagine the girls growing up without their Mom, and so I began to pray. I could hear the nurses praying, and my family too…
Next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room with my husband by my side. An emergency hysterectomy had been performed, without which I would certainly have died, as the blood loss was great. Immediately, I was given a transfusion, and would require several more over the next couple of days.
As a healthcare professional, I had often heard about ‘the gift that really means something’ and ‘give blood; save lives’, but today I truly thank God for those people who gave their blood to save MY life! Had it not been for immediate availability of my rare blood type, I would not be here today to experience and enjoy life with my family.
Donors have saved my life and the life of my loved ones
by Noel France
I was eleven years old when I had my tonsils out,simple operation huh? well i hemorraged 3 times. I received three blood transfusions, thank you to all the donors who were ther to save me!!!! Now I have a friend who is fighting cancer and has received red cell and platelets.Thank you donors for giving her each new day!!!