San Jose Mother Holding Drive to Collect 41 Pints of Blood
When emergency blood transfusions helped to save her life nearly three years ago, Christie Gemmet found it difficult to thank the blood donors. Not because she didn’t want to, but because the confidential nature of blood donation prevented her from doing so.
However, Gemmet has found her own way of saying “thank you” – by sponsoring an annual blood drive in an effort to help ensure that blood continues to be available for those who need it.
While giving birth to her son nearly three years ago, the San Jose resident suffered an Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE), a rare obstetric emergency in which amniotic fluid or other debris enters the mother's blood stream and triggers a potentially deadly allergic reaction. As a result, she had to be transfused with 41 pints of blood.
“I believe I had angels watching over me that day because I beat the odds and survived,” Gemmet said.
Now, as a way of thanking the “nameless” blood donors who helped to save her life, Gemmet is holding her second “41 for Me and My Son” blood drive with the American Red Cross on Saturday, Sept. 15. The goal is to collect at least 41 pints of blood – the same amount Christie was transfused with during the delivery of her son, Ryan.
“I have been a regular blood donor since high school, and I never imagined that I would be on the receiving end of needing blood transfusions to save my own life,” Christie said. “The experience reminded me of how precious life is and to be grateful for each day we have here with our families.”
As both a blood donor and recipient, Gemmet knows the importance of donating blood. The annual blood drive is her way of helping maintain the community blood supply.
“Without having the 41 units of blood, I would have not survived and my children would have to grow up without their mother,” Gemmet said.
Last year’s “41 for Me and My Son” blood drive collected 52 pints of blood, 26 percent above its goal. A similar result this year would go a long way in helping sick and injured patients in need.
“Every day the Red Cross provides blood to Bay Area hospitals to help patients during difficult births, cancer treatments as well as scheduled and emergency surgeries,” said Jared Schultzman, American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region spokesperson. “It’s not easy to get people to donate blood on a Saturday during the summer, but we hope that Christie’s story highlights the importance of blood donation.”
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 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 blog.redcross.org.
Who: American Red Cross and the Gemmet Family
What: 41 for Me and My Son Blood Drive
Where: Holy Spirit Parish, 1200 Redmond Avenue in San Jose
When: Saturday, Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Why: In honor of blood recipient Christie Gemmet and her son, Ryan.
How: To make an appointment to donate blood at the Sept. 15 drive, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). You can also schedule your appointment online.