Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. As the Labor Day weekend approaches, the American Red Cross urgently needs platelet donors and whole blood donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood. Rolling up a sleeve before the holiday could help patients in need enjoy future summers with their families.
MEET THE NEWELL FAMILY: Just over a year ago, Wendy Newell needed a caesarian section to deliver her twins. She was only 36 weeks along in her pregnancy and was having complications with high blood pressure. After the delivery, she was given several medications to help bring her blood pressure down.
Wendy was able to go home, but she experienced a serious allergic reaction to one of the medications. She suffered internal bleeding and collapsed. Wendy’s husband, Justin, rushed her to the hospital. She spent four days in the Intensive Care Unit where she received six units of blood and had to undergo surgery.
“Know that what you do helps people. It is as simple as that,” Justin said about those who donate blood. “You help save lives like my wife’s. Without donations, my children would not have a mother.”
Today, Wendy has fully recovered and stays at home with her twins, Delaney and Keaton. She enjoys the sunshine and sports, and watching the twins grow and develop their own personalities. “Delaney likes to dance and clap her hands to music and nursery rhymes,” Wendy said. “Keaton loves to climb on things and play peek-a-boo, usually from behind the living room curtains!” Each day brings new memories for the Newell family – memories that wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of blood donors.
“I had donated before, but never on a regular basis. It was always a time when I happened to pass by a sign or notice that there was a blood drive nearby,” Justin said in reflection of his own blood donation experiences. “After a week, Wendy received six units of blood and I realized the importance those people had in donating. Through their courage, my children now have a mother to grow up with. Through my courage, I hope I can provide other children with their mother or father.”
SUMMER OF STORIES Many patients like Wendy have stories about how the generosity of blood donors touched their lives and the lives of their families. Before summer comes to a close, there is still time for everyone – patients and blood donors alike – to share their stories.
The Red Cross “Summer of Stories” program helps encourage blood donations and recognize everyone who supports Red Cross blood drives. From August 26 to September 9, all presenting donors will be eligible for the chance to win one of five $1,000 American Express gift cards to create their own summer stories. Visit redcrossblood.org/summer for details.
HOW TO GIVE For more information about donating blood, or to make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, please visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Individuals who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.