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The gift of life

With Mother's Day just around the corner, one blood recipient looks back on a time when she thought she would never meet her newborn or see her other children again — and says volunteer blood donors are to thank for helping pull her through the medical misfortune that almost tore them apart.

On Jan. 6, 2011, Jenny Jamison was scheduled to have a Caesarean section for her fourth childbirth. She was at Muskogee Regional Medical Center, where the American Red Cross is the primary supplier of blood and blood products.

She didn’t have any problems with the first three, which were also C-sections, so her family and friends were shocked when something went terribly wrong after the doctors started the surgical procedure.

The doctors discovered Jamison had a “one-in-a-million medical condition” that caused her to bleed profusely, she said. Her husband was immediately asked to leave the room. At first, nurses brought pints of Red Cross blood to her bedside just one at a time. Eventually, they were delivering them by the ice chest.

“Five different surgeons ended up in the room,” she recalled. “All of my family and friends were just watching nurses run the blood down the hallway to my room.”

Jenny Jamison with daughter Ainsleigh

She received 36 units altogether, including more than a dozen of blood and several more of platelets and plasma. After her daughter Ainsleigh was born without any difficulties of her own, Jamison recovered for four days on a ventilator in the intensive care unit.

“Without that blood on hand, I would not have made it," Jamison said. "I recently ran into one of the surgeons who was there that day, and she said, ‘You should not be standing here. You should not have made it.’”

Today, Jamison, a kindergarten teacher with Muskogee Public Schools, said she is excited when she has the opportunity to share how blood donations saved her life — and potentially inspire others to become donors.

“From the moment I knew they were lifesaving for me, I was just in awe,” she said. “People who do not know who I am have no idea what their 30 or however few minutes did for my life and my family. If it weren’t for those donations, I would not be able to raise my four children. My husband would be a single parent.”

How to donate blood: Call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit for more information or to make an appointment. Every blood type is needed to ensure the Red Cross maintains an adequate blood supply. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Donors must have general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old (16 with a completed Parental Consent Form). Many donors are eligible to give blood every 56 days.