By Aleesia Benkey, American Red Cross intern
In honor of National Blood Donor Month, the American Red Cross is highlighting local blood donors and sharing their stories to inspire others.
“The Red Cross made it too easy to donate,” shared Fatina Johnston of Seal Beach, California. Fatina lives at a community living center in the area, where the Red Cross hosts a monthly blood drive.
Fatina is no stranger to lifesaving donations as she was a bone marrow donor for her brother, Nabil Habash, during his battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1998. Nabil was well taken care of throughout his battle at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California.
“People always ask if it was a painful experience, and I do recall having pain, but the reward just overshadowed any discomfort,” said Fatina.“I'd do it again for anyone.”
Nabil, unfortunately, passed away eight months later, yet Fatina continues to live in his honor. As a tribute to her brother’s life, Fatina strives to donate blood as much as she can. After a recent donation, she shared how her passions came full circle.
“I got an email from the Red Cross telling me that my blood went to the City of Hope! Imagine my delight that I was helping again, in the same place I saved my brother's life. What a gift," said Fatina. This moment has inspired her to keep donating every chance she gets.
Fatina advocates for blood donations and the lifeline they provide. “How grateful would you be if you needed blood, and there was some stranger willing to be a lifeline for you? Pretty powerful stuff I'd say,” said Fatina.
Fatina hopes to inspire others with her story and shares, “a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” Join Fatina and make an appointment to donate blood today.
The Red Cross is always looking to highlight donors and volunteers who make a difference; submit your Red Cross story today.