In order to promote awareness of the upcoming 16th Annual Okeechobee Blood Roundup to be held at the Freshman Campus Auditorium on Nov. 20 and 21, we share stories of local Okeechobee folks who have received donations of blood and the difference it made in their lives.
Volunteers for the Blood Roundup and Linda, who works for OneBlood as a donor recruiter, provide me with names and contact information of these people.
When I called Anne Marie she told me she has been donating whole blood and platelets for 57 years but her story was not very exciting because she has never received a blood transfusion. After the conversation ended, I thought about all the recipients of Anne Marie’s blood over the span of those years and wondered how many of those people did have an exciting story of how their life was saved because she unselfishly took the time to donate.
I have written over 70 stories in the hope that each story will inspire at least one person to donate blood. I have written stories of women who would have died during a miscarriage or childbirth had they not received a blood transfusion. I have written stories of infants born with medical conditions that required a blood transfusion. I have written stories of children who developed diseases and disorders that are living today because they received a blood transfusion and/or a blood byproduct infusion. I have written stories of children and adults who must receive blood or blood byproducts on a regular basis for the rest of their lives.
I have written stories of people with hemorrhaging ulcers or aneurysms who would have died had they not received blood to replace that which they lost. I have written stories of people with cancer who received much needed blood and platelets. I have written stories of people with anemia who would have succumbed to low levels of hemoglobin had they not received a blood transfusion. I have written stories of people who required a blood transfusion to replace blood lost during, and sometimes after, surgery. I have written stories of people who received blood to replace that lost due to massive injuries as a result of a vehicle accident, and stories of veterans who received blood to replace that lost due to wounds received in military combat.
In all of the stories I have written several themes are common: all of those who received blood and blood byproducts are very thankful for the people who donated that blood; many of those who received blood often donate and encourage those who can donate to do so. Recipients of blood remind us that you cannot predict when you or a loved one may need a blood transfusion or an infusion of blood byproducts; and, most importantly, those who donate blood are heroes in the eyes of the recipients and their loved ones.
Please thank all of the people who have shared their stories by donating the gift of life – your blood – at the 16th Annual Okeechobee Blood Roundup on Nov. 20 and 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Freshman Campus Auditorium. All blood donors will receive a commemorative Roundup T-shirt and the FIRST 200 donors will receive a goody bag donated by The Hoskins-Turco Law Office. Make an appointment on line at OneBlood.org or call 1-888-9-DONATE.