By Mark Maginn
American Red Cross
For Pat Davis of Hollister, MO, a sudden health crisis in 2003 required immediate hospitalization. At first, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 kidney failure brought on by medicine for another condition. A few weeks later, she received a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis and was informed she could not survive the double onslaught.
But her specialists didn’t know their new patient well enough yet. Pat was not about to take such talk lying down and fought back.
Blood, and a lot of it, became imperative to Pat’s life. During her weeks in the hospital fighting for her life, she required 30 transfusions.
Pat began to wonder from where all that blood came. Without it, she and many other patients would not survive their life and death battles with various cancers. Also, her late husband had fought Crohn's Disease that also required blood transfusions.
Not only did she wonder about the supplies of blood that helped her fight off death, she wondered how all the blood made it to the right destinations for the right patients.
Years ago, while living in Tulsa, OK, Pat came to know a retired woman who volunteered with the Red Cross. She was so impressed with this volunteer that Pat promised herself that she would like to deploy with the Red Cross when she retired.
For the past four or five years, Pat has been a valuable Red Cross volunteer. She began as a volunteer responding mostly to home fires. But for some time, Pat has been coordinating blood drives in southwestern Missouri.
In this position, Pat ensures that she coordinates a blood drive with the facility offering space, usually a local small church in the Hollister-Branson area. She reaffirms that the church is on board with the date and times while also ensuring enough volunteers present.
During the blood drives, Pat arrives to satisfy herself that everything runs smoothly for the donors and volunteers.
Every 58 days, Pat helps coordinate one of the oldest running blood drives in Branson in conjunction with the Knights of Columbus. Until October, she helped check in donors during the Covid-19 pandemic. To make everything safer for donors and volunteers, donors are required to make an appointment. This reduces crowding and the possibility of the virus spreading.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 tracked her down. At the end of November, Pat was hospitalized, feeling terribly ill. After five days in the hospital, she was allowed to recuperate in the comfort of her home.
During a recent interview, Pat explained she was still recovering from the sickest she has ever been and would not wish Covid-19 on anyone. Like so many with the virus, the recovery is slow, tedious, and miserable.
Yet once again, a possibly deadly disease is not going to keep Pat knocked down. As hard as it has been, she is recovering and planning on resuming her volunteer activities at her church, where the Red Cross is planning another blood drive.
Pat also volunteers every Wednesday at the local Salvation Army Pantry, where she not only helps hand out the much-needed food, but she orders the food, stacks it, and manages to look after the volunteers who assist in the food’s delivery.
Pat is an extraordinary person who says her faith keeps her going, which allows her to “see a glass always half-full.”
Pat said that her volunteer work keeps her mind off her continuing health challenges by thinking about and serving others. She has taken her considerable suffering and turned it over to her faith by serving others.
As Pat Davis would say, service to others is healing.