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Blood donors have a special place in Fremont, Neb. family’s life

Midwest

December 13, 2012
 
FREMONT, Neb. — Shelli Miller of Fremont has three reasons for the Fremont community to give blood at the American Red Cross Fremont Holiday Blood Drive on Dec. 18 and 19: Emma, Isabel and Nathaniel. Each of Shelli’s three children has required blood products.
 
Shelli’s oldest daughter, Emma, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, and a very rare autoimmune disorder when she was just 2 years old. During the past 10 years, Emma has counted on the generosity of blood donors on a monthly – sometimes even weekly – basis. Though she no longer needs blood or platelet transfusions now that she no longer undergoes chemotherapy, Emma does rely on the donated plasma for a weekly injection she receives to boost her immune system. She may continue to need this treatment for the rest of her life.
 
At age 12, Emma is acutely aware of the gift blood donors have given her. Shelli recounts times when Emma has seen someone wearing a Red Cross blood donor t-shirt and stopped the person to thank them and tell them that they are helping patients like her.
 
And, they’ve helped patients like Emma’s 8-year-old sister Isabel, too. Isabel was born nine weeks prematurely and weighed a mere three pounds. During her stay at the neonatal intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, she also received blood.
 
Two years later, the Miller family prepared to welcome another sibling for Emma and Isabel. The family’s happiness was quickly replaced with worry when an ultrasound of the unborn child showed four holes in the baby’s tiny heart.
 
Nathaniel was born in September of 2006 with congenital heart defect and had his first heart surgery when he was just three weeks old. The 10-pound baby didn’t even have enough blood in his little body to prime the bypass machine, so donated blood sustained him through the surgery. Nathaniel’s first year of life was filled with surgeries, procedures and transfusions.
 
On Dec. 14, 2007, Nathaniel passed away. Shelli credits the blood products for giving her time to be with her sweet baby.
 
Give something that means something
This holiday season, Shelli and her daughters are asking the Fremont community to give something that means something by giving blood at the Fremont Holiday Blood Drive.
 
“What can you give that means more?” Shelli said. “You are helping to save somebody’s life. It takes such a little amount of time to make a difference for somebody else. There’s not a better gift that you can give anybody.”
 
Fremont Holiday Blood Drive
Tuesday, Dec. 18 from 12 to 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 19 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Fremont City Auditorium, 925 N. Broad St., Fremont
All presenting donors will be receive an insulated Red Cross mug and can enter to win prizes from local businesses.
To make an appointment, call Marilyn Hammang at 402-271-2580 or visit redcrossblood.org.
 
“The Fremont Holiday Blood Drive comes at an important time of year for the Red Cross,” said Tricia Quinn, CEO of the Midwest Blood Services Region. “This blood drive will help boost the blood supply during the holidays and each pint may help save up to three lives. The only cost is about an hour of time, but, to a hospital patient in need, time is everything.”
 
The need for blood is constant and doesn’t take a holiday. Winter weather, seasonal illnesses and holiday plans often impact donors’ availability to give blood. This can reduce blood supplies for patients in need.
 
All blood types are needed to ensure an adequate blood supply during the holidays, especially donors with type O positive, O negative, A negative or B negative blood.
 
How to Donate Blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
 
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.
 
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