By Dan Dowling, Regional Communications Manager
"I remember thinking, 'Oh my gosh, my husband is going to raise these babies without me.'"
That was the thought going through Dedi Sampson’s mind shortly after delivering her son. The New Hampshire mom was resting when she felt that something was wrong. She alerted the nurses for help.
"I didn't feel right, so I rang the call button for the nurse to come in. She came and I said something's not right."
The nurse entered the room and knew something was wrong, and called for more help. The doctor rushed in and the scene suddenly became very urgent. Sampson needed blood. After a few minutes, the medical team was able to stabilize her. It was only later that Sampson’s sister told her how close she came to dying.
"My sister was coming in and she met one of the nurses in the lobby. The nurse recognized her, and she said that we almost lost her. I believe that blood from the American Red Cross saved my life."
Sampson had been a blood donors years before the birth of her son. In high school, it started more as a social experience than a way to give back to her community.
"The very first time that I ever donated was when I was in high school and they had a drive right at the high school. We all thought that would be a cool thing to do," she said. "I did not, at the time, have any idea of the impact that giving blood would have on me."
Today, Sampson has become a regular blood donor and is passionate about this lifesaving gift after experiencing it firsthand. She encourages others to donate as well.
"If there's a drive, I've got to go. This last time that I went here locally, I talked to my niece into going," said Sampson.
She says her niece was nervous, unsure of what to expect. With Sampson’s reassurance, she gave it a shot. Sampson even got her niece’s husband to join them too.
"It was a very cool experience to be with two people that had never given before - and one that was really afraid to give. She realized that she didn't need to be afraid anymore," Sampson said. "They did great. They donated fast. They were in and out."
In most cases, donors should plan to spend about an hour at the donor center from start to finish, but the actual blood donation only takes about eight to 10 minutes. Sampson also appreciates the features and convenience of the Red Cross Blood Donor app, which tallies and tracks your donations and makes scheduling easy. You can download the free app by texting BLOODAPP to 90999 or searching “American Red Cross” in app stores.
"I do like the newer features now that you know Red Cross will send a notification that says your blood's been used, which is a really cool," she said.
But for Sampson, it's the feeling she gets each time she rolls us a sleeve that keeps her coming back. She thinks about the birth of her son and her own Red Cross story every time she donates.
"I think the general public, that has never had an emergency situation like that, doesn't understand that the blood is not just magically there. A lot of work goes on in the background to have that blood supply readily available in time of need," said Sampson.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. In fact, one in seven patients entering the hospital will need a blood transfusion.
"It it's very humbling. I guess it's the ultimate way to be able to pay it forward. There's always something we can do to help make this world a better place and giving blood pretty easy," she said.
The need for blood is constant. Each day, the Red Cross needs to collect about 12,500 blood donations to meet the needs of patients at about 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country. Schedule an appointment to donate today by visiting RedCrossBlood.org.