Using a cane to steady his walk, MBTA Transit Police Officer Richard “Dic” Donohue, Jr. proudly entered the ballroom at Boston Marriott Copley Place on July 18. He was making an appearance at a blood drive in his honor. When he walked into the room, donors, volunteers and staff clapped for the injured officer.
Officer Donohue was shot in Watertown on the morning of April 19, 2013 in an intense gun battle with the accused Boston Marathon bombing suspects. He required more than 46 blood products, including red cells, platelets and plasma, to help save his life.
His wife, Kim, asked the American Red Cross and Mount Auburn Hospital to host a joint blood drive in his honor to boost the community supply. “When I arrived at the hospital I saw men carrying cardboard boxes. When I asked the nurse what was in the boxes, she replied blood for your husband,” said Kim Donohue. “I didn’t realize the amount of blood you go through in a trauma situation. Luckily the blood products were already at the hospital. It was such a relief that it was already available thanks to the generosity of volunteer donors,” she added. Kim donated blood at the joint drive along with other family members, friends and colleagues.
“I am here today because of blood donors. I would not be alive if people hadn’t volunteered their time to give blood. I encourage eligible donors to give the gift of life,” said Officer Donohue.
The community responded to Officer Donohue’s call to give blood and 173 lifesaving units were collected. Area police chiefs attended and dozens of officers rolled up their sleeves.
“As a lifelong Bostonian, I know the past three months have been an extremely trying time for our community,” said Donna M. Morrissey, director of communications, Red Cross Northeast Blood Services Division. “This blood drive was a healing moment in the wake of an unspeakable tragedy. Hundreds of people showed they’re ‘Boston Strong’ by helping patients in need.” In the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombings, the Red Cross handed out food, water and relief items. The organization also provided trained mental health workers to assist families of the victims as well as support first responders and the wider community.
Hearts broke across the nation on the day of the Boston Marathon attacks. By rolling up a sleeve to give blood and honor Officer Donohue, these donors have just helped prevent heartbreak for other families – those whose loved ones are counting on lifesaving transfusions. Their support meant the world to the Donohue family.
“Our only regret was not being able to stop at every bed and thank each individual. Dic's foot pain still prevents him from standing or walking for long periods, but next year he will come back at 100% and be able to walk around the room and thank every single person,” said Kim Donohue. “To the 46 anonymous donors whose blood helped save Dic's life, we can't thank you enough. Imagine who you will save by donating blood...perhaps someone's husband, brother, or father.”
Summer is a difficult time to collect enough blood to help meet the needs of hospital patients like Officer Donohue. There is currently an urgent need for platelet donors, as well as type O negative, B negative and A negative blood donors. To make an appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.