Rose Stanford lived in New York when, at 20 years old, she went into labor with her first child. It was Christmas Eve 1965, and the weather was cold and snowy. Rose was raised Catholic, went to a Catholic school, and went to the Catholic hospital to give birth.
Rose was bleeding a lot when she arrived at the hospital, and her health was further complicated with bronchial pneumonia. When she woke up after her daughter was born, she wondered why a board was strapped to her arm and what was in the bag hanging on a pole next to her bed. The nurse, a Catholic nun, told her that she lost a lot of blood and she required a transfusion of donated blood.
Rose’s baby girl was fine; however, because of the bronchial pneumonia, Rose could not hold or touch her baby. Rose was placed in an oxygen tent and remained in the hospital for over a week. Her mother stayed with her and helped the nurses take care of the baby. A priest came into her room one day and made the sign of the cross over her. Rose asked him if she was dying and was very relieved when he said, “Not today, I’m just blessing you.”
Rose admits she was very naïve about blood transfusions. When she got home, she asked her mother if she was still Italian after receiving some unknown person’s blood. Her mother said, “You are still my daughter and that’s what matters the most.”
Please thank Rose for sharing her story by donating the gift of life — your blood — at the 15th Annual Okeechobee Blood Roundup on Nov. 21 and 22 at the Freshman Campus Auditorium. All blood donors will receive a commemorative Roundup T-shirt and refreshments.