Dino Ingram is a Red Cross volunteer and contributing writer.
Dustin and Brandie Stoddard live in Manhattan with their four children, two of which are German Shorthaired Pointers. Dustin is a General Manager at a garden nursery. In his spare time he likes to hunt. Also, for the past seventeen years he’s been officiating high school varsity basketball in northeast Kansas. Brandie works for the Kansas State University Foundation. In her down time she likes to shop and scour Pinterest. They both graduated from KSU with undergraduate degrees. However Brandie does identify herself as a Nebraska Husker! Unfortunately, you can’t convert everyone!
Brandie started donating plasma in college and became a blood donor in 2002 while working for a previous employer. She’s been a regular donor ever since. What Brandie could never have known was that in ten years she'd give birth to a precious baby girl needing this same gift of life that she'd been providing for others.
Late in 2012 at four months of age her youngest daughter Haevyn was diagnosed with a failing heart and became a candidate for a heart transplant. Between the time of the diagnosis and when Haevyn received the transplant, in March of 2013, she’d received three pints of blood. During the transplant surgery she received approximately four additional pints. Roughly calculated, Haevyn received just a few ounces short of a gallon of blood. You could be clinical and measure it in units, but that doesn’t have an impact to most people. Here’s a great frame of reference for you. Donating at regular safe intervals, one person would need to donate for almost one year to provide the amount of blood that Haevyn required in three months!
For more on Haevyn's story you can click on the link at the bottom of this article.
March, 2014 marks the one year anniversary of Haevyn’s transplant. All things considered, she’s doing well. Despite that fact, on the anniversary of their trial, Brandie still reflects with tears, thankful that their daughter is alive and healthy, but she hurts because of what Haevyn endured and the feeling that no child should have to go through these types of hardships.
Haevyn came out the other side, happy, healthy and growing just like a baby should and the family seems to be resuming as normal a routine as possible. In total, life seems to be going well for them. However that would not have been the case if there hadn't been donors out there, willing to give the gift of life to their daughter.
On a side note, one of the questions that I asked Brandie was if she was a volunteer with the Red Cross. She replied quite simply, “No, but I’d love to be!” Well for Brandie and the rest of you reading this article, you’re in luck. I’ve included a link for you to use so you can find out how to volunteer your time and your talents to an organization that needs both from you. Now if we can only resolve that looming Huskers issue!
If you're interested in becoming a blood donor you can call the following number. The process is as easy as dialing 1-800-RED-CROSS. You can also click on the following link to make an appointment.
To volunteer with the Kansas Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross, visit http://www.redcross.org/ks/topeka/volunteer or call 785-234-0568.
For more on Haevyn’s story click on the link below: