Jessica Ruiz suffers from severe anemia, a condition she’s managed since she was an infant. However, 12 years ago, after the arrival of her son, Jaden, the task of juggling life as a new mom, along with work and school, left little time for self-care. As a result, Ruiz’s hemoglobin dropped dangerously low, causing her to faint in the middle of her workday. Once she was rushed to the hospital, a blood transfusion was urgently needed to help restore her health.
Ruiz doesn’t recall much about the first hours of her hospitalization, but once she was lucid, and informed that her frightening downward spiral came to a halt thanks to the generosity of a blood donor, she felt a great sense of comfort and gratitude in the midst of her fatigue.
“I woke up in the hospital and was super exhausted, but so thankful that I was given a blood transfusion and was able to recuperate,” said Ruiz, who remained there for nearly a week before returning home to her newborn son Jaden.
A Lifesaving Transfusion Made an Impression of a Lifetime
The need for a blood transfusion was an isolated experience, but left a lasting impression on Ruiz, who still suffers from anemia. It’s what motivated her and her husband, Jesse Ruiz to host a blood drive inside of their business space, FADE THE BARBERHOP.
Ruiz was thrilled to be able to pay her gift forward by finally becoming eligible to donate blood after low hemoglobin had left her ineligible to give for years. She was the last donor to give during her hosted drive.
“I made sure everyone donated first so my mood would remain upbeat throughout the drive, just in case the phlebotomists told me I was ineligible to give. But sure enough, my hemoglobin was high enough this time,” said Ruiz. “My husband and all the phlebotomists celebrated with me while I was prepped for donation. The feeling was amazing knowing that I could finally return a life to someone like it was once done for me.”
Support from blood drive hosts like the Ruiz family helps contribute to the nearly 13,000 blood donations and more than 2,600 platelet donations that the American Red Cross must collect daily to meet the needs of patients at about 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.
Blood Donors Give a Priceless Gift to Patients in Need
Blood transfusions make a lifesaving difference to patients during this time when many individuals being treated for illness and injuries can’t be consoled by loved ones. Blood donors help to provide a sense of comfort and joy for not only patients, but friends and family who wish them a speedy recovery. Ruiz urges all eligible donors to make the time to give blood. “The gift of life is priceless. You never know who needs that helping hand your blood donation provides.”
Eligible individuals are urged to make an appointment to donate now using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Through December 15, Suburban Propane is offering blood, platelet and plasma donors a chance to win an Outdoor Living Experience, powered by propane, to enable a lucky winner to enjoy socially distanced celebrations with family and friends this holiday season. The prize includes a propane-powered pizza oven, fire pit, outdoor heater and stipend towards propane.*
COVID-19 Blood Donation Safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face coverings for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally 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.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
*See complete official rules and terms and conditions of the giveaway.