Give the gift of life


Letter to the Editor

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.

Ida Berlew

Ida Berlew recently celebrated her 90th birthday; however, had she not received donated blood many years ago, she may not have seen her 23rd birthday. Ida graduated from nursing school in 1951.

In April 1953, Ida had been married nine months when she was involved in a head-on collision with another automobile. Two young boys were in the other car, one of whom was a hemophiliac. Ida tried to stop the boy’s bleeding by applying pressure until an ambulance took the boys to a hospital. Ida had facial injuries and was bleeding as well. She was taken by a friend to General Hospital in Wilkes Barre, Penn., where she had graduated from nursing school.

In addition to the bruises and lacerations, Ida had a ruptured spleen. After she arrived at the hospital, she began to go into shock from loss of blood. Ida remembers the very stern and very tall director of nursing was her IV pole as Ida was rushed into surgery to remove her spleen. Ida required two units of blood to replace that which she had lost.

Ida had started out that day to go shopping for a dress as she was to be in her best friend’s wedding. The wedding went as planned although without Ida as maid of honor. Her friend did postpone her long honeymoon until she knew Ida would be OK.

Ida’s nursing career ended at Raulerson Hospital when she retired after 10 years as director of nursing. Besides receiving donated blood that saved her life, Ida has witnessed many lives saved because someone gave the gift of life — their blood.

Please thank Ida 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.

Susan Williams
Okeechobee Blood Roundup volunteer