By Bethany Bray Patterson, American Red Cross Regional Communications Manager
Katie Hall of Wilmington, Delaware is mother to six-year-old twins, Bradley and Karlee.
Bradley likes to tease his mom because she’s a Philadelphia Eagles fan and he roots for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Hall says, chuckling, and Karlee is “just a cuddle bug, she wants to be next to you all the time.”
Hall credits every minute she has with her happy, thriving twins to the two lifesaving blood transfusions she received after she delivered them via emergency cesarean section.
Although she knows it’s not possible, she wishes she could somehow track and contact the blood donors who donated the units she received that saved her life – “it was invaluable,” she says.
“I’m so grateful that they donated blood, so I can be here with my children,” says Hall, manager of the international compliance department for Corporation Service Company (CSC) in Wilmington and a member of the board of directors of the Delmarva chapter of the Red Cross of the National Capital and Greater Chesapeake region.
Someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion every two minutes. The Red Cross collects 40% of the nation’s blood supply, ensuring that new moms – like Katie – as well as premature babies, cancer patients and accident victims have access to safe, lifesaving blood.
Like many moms-to-be, “I did not anticipate my delivery going the way it did,” Hall says. “I had this grand vision that everything was going to go well.”
She ended up receiving two blood transfusions after 22 hours of labor and an unplanned C-section. The twins were born at 34 weeks and two days, Hall says; Bradley was just over four pounds and Karlee was just over three pounds.
Despite being very healthy prior to conceiving, Katie was considered a “high risk” pregnancy because she was anemic and had other complicating factors. She was hospitalized several times for low iron and received intravenous iron transfusions throughout the pregnancy, but her iron levels continued to drop, she recalls.
Before her C-section, Katie’s blood pressure and iron were critically low – at a level that can be fatal, she said. Bradley’s blood pressure was also dropping; after delivery they discovered he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck multiple times.
She was so sick after the birth that she wasn’t able to hold the twins for the first 48 hours of their life, she recalls.
You’d never know the twins, now in kindergarten, had such a challenging start. They are happy and healthy. Karlee loves drawing and art; one of her pieces was recently selected by her school for a district-wide art show. Bradley loves to learn, play video games and watch basketball – he’s a big Philadelphia 76ers fan, Hall says.
Hall had always donated blood throughout her adult life but now, knowing how it can safe a life firsthand, she takes it a step further. In addition to donating regularly, she organizes blood drives at her workplace and supports the Red Cross mission as a board member.
“It’s a huge honor and privilege for me to serve on the [Delmarva] board,” she says, “I was grateful to be asked.”
The need for blood is constant. Every day, volunteer blood and platelet donors are needed across the country to help save lives. When you roll up a sleeve to donate, you help change a life.
Schedule an appointment to donate today by visiting RedCrossBlood.org.