OKEECHOBEE — In order to promote awareness of the upcoming 15th Annual Okeechobee Blood Roundup to be held at the Freshman Campus Auditorium on Nov. 21 and 22, we share stories of local Okeechobee folks who have received donations of blood and the difference it made in their lives.
In 2002, Regina and her second husband, Leonard Delucchi, were living a good life. Other than prostate cancer, Leonard, an ex-Marine, was very strong and healthy and able to do anything he wanted to. One day while up on a ladder, his legs began to shake. Thinking the prostate cancer may be causing his shaky legs, Leonard saw his doctor right away. The doctor said that was not the cause and immediately sent him to the hospital, where Leonard received three units of blood. He had become extremely anemic because he had lymphoma, a cancer of the blood.
Leonard required a transfusion of blood every week. He went through chemotherapy, radiation treatments and had his spleen removed because it was destroying healthy red blood cells; however, after nine months Leonard passed away at the age of 59.
Four years ago, Regina’s daughter, Stephanie, also required two units of blood to replace that which she lost during a routine Caesarian delivery. The birth was so traumatic that Stephanie was placed in ICU for a couple of days to make sure nothing else went wrong.
Regina’s first husband was a diabetic who was on dialysis for many years and required blood transfusions periodically.
Regina is very thankful for all the people who donated blood that helped her first husband, saved her daughter’s life, and allowed Leonard to live nine months longer before succumbing to lymphoma. She is also thankful that the blood supply is safe — no worries of contracting AIDS, hepatitis or other blood-borne diseases because donated blood goes through 13 tests before it is deemed safe for transfusion. Regina hopes that those people who have not donated realize that a steady supply of blood and blood products is very important because at any time they or one of their family members may need blood — and need it immediately to live.
Please thank Regina for sharing the stories of her family members 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.
Okeechobee Blood Roundup volunteer