Printable Version

Local family remembers how blood donors gave them their mother back

Central Ohio

May 9, 2011

As Memorial Day weekend approaches,
one local family remembers the anniversary
of a life changing experience, and how
blood donors made all the difference.

For most, Memorial Day weekend is spent enjoying time with friends and family while dodging the rain in hopes of catching a brief moment to quickly grill the hamburgers outside.  For the Donahue family, the 2010 long holiday weekend wasn’t close to a picnic.

Michelle Donahue delivered two beautiful twin girls on Friday, May 28, 2010 via a cesarean section.  During the C-section Michelle had massive bleeding and lost five and a half liters of blood.  While her twins were cared for at the hospital, Michelle underwent dozens of transfusions and five surgeries in thirty hours battling the odds before her.  With her blood unable to clot and the huge loss of blood during surgery, Michelle received more than 80 pints of blood over Memorial Day weekend.  

During pregnancy Michelle’s blood developed antibodies which required the 80 pints of blood she received that weekend to be a specific type.  Each blood transfusion not only had to be of the correct blood group, but also a correct match for antibodies, making it very difficult to find a blood match.  

“We quickly went through the hospital’s on-hand supply of compatible blood and had to rely on the Red Cross to quickly deliver us multiple units of blood several times over the weekend.  Each time it was requested the Red Cross was able to quickly provide the life saving blood products Michelle needed,” Michelle’s husband Rob explains.             

Despite the Donahue’s struggle, Michelle beat the immense odds stacked against her and is happy and healthy with her family today.  

As a loving wife and mother of four, Michelle and her family would like to thank everyone who donates blood on a regular basis.  Without this precious gift of life, Michelle and others around the world would not be alive today.  Michelle’s struggle illustrates how important blood donation is and, as Rob states, “Some day you may need the life saving gift of blood and it is better to pay it forward now.”

Today the Donahue family encourage anyone who can to give blood regularly.

How did Michelle develop specific antibodies during pregnancy?

During normal pregnancy, a baby’s blood type might differ from the mother’s without complication, but in rare circumstances the mother’s immune system may produce antibodies.

These antibodies are created when a baby’s blood is of a different blood group than the mother’s and it crosses the placenta.  This very rare condition only occurs in about 3% of pregnancies. 

Please give:
To find a blood drive opportunity near you, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or click the blue “Make a blood donation appointment” button in the upper right corner.  





Central Ohio Blood ServicesColumbus, OH
United States
See map: Google Maps