During this time of the year when many spend extra time with loved ones, I feel compelled to write about my own family’s experience with blood donation. On Jan. 3, 1998, I received a call at work that my mother was in critical condition in a hospital in Florida, where she and my father were vacationing. Apparently, she had gone into septic shock, or a full body infection while on vacation, and four of her five major body systems had shut down. One of those was her circulatory system, which meant she needed, among many procedures, a blood transfusion. I along with many other family members flew to Florida to be at my mother’s side and only later found out that the hospital staff thought she wouldn’t survive long enough for us to see her one last time.
Her need for uninfected blood was so great that we had to rely on dialysis and a blood transfusion to help her get well. The blood was from the bank in the hospital, donated by a kind member of the Florida community. One month later, my mother flew home to Columbus. She made a full recovery, and her health improved because someone volunteered to donate the lifesaving blood she needed. Every time I see posters for a blood drive, I think about my mother, and the people who helped her. I also think about how thankful my family is that The American Red Cross does such an excellent job of processing and organizing blood donations for people who need them quickly. Give blood this year; you never know-the life you may save may be your own family member’s.