When Traci Sumter's husband Gregory unexpectedly became sick, a blood transfusion was the only treatment that could make him feel well again.
"His hemoglobin was very low, and he had to have a blood transfusion. He's had to have two more transfusions since, and we're just very thankful that blood was available when he needed it," said Traci. "We expect he will need more transfusions in the future because he has a chronic illness that we just recently found out about."
After her husband's diagnosis, Traci and her 16-year-old son, John, decided they wanted to give blood to give back at a recent drive in Myrtle Beach, SC. They had never realized how important it is to ensure there are blood products on hospital shelves until they experienced the need firsthand.
"When my husband needed blood, it was there, so we wanted to help someone else in the future. It was something we both wanted to do for his father," Traci described of her and John's motivations for giving blood. "You never know – someone could be in a car accident or have an illness, and it's important to have it available for other people when the need arises."
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets, or plasma, this lifesaving care starts with one person donating. When her husband receives blood transfusions to treat his illness, Traci can see the lifesaving power of blood donations.
"I knew he wasn't feeling well, he was a greyish color, but as he was receiving the blood, I could see the color return to his face," Traci says of the hope she feels watching her husband return to himself. "He looked healthier – he looked like himself again. Rasing his hemoglobin levels made every difference in the world."
Blood products cannot be manufactured; they can only come from volunteer donors. One donation from a generous donor has the potential to save more than on life.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart because he would never have gotten better without it," said Traci on the gratitude she feels to the blood donors who stepped up to give and helped her husband. "There was nothing else that could have replaced the blood that he received. No medicine could have made him feel better; only blood can help him."
The need for blood remains constant. Help make it a summer full of life by donating blood or platelets this month. Join Traci and John and sign up to give blood to help ensure there is blood on hospital shelves when patients need it.
Schedule an appointment to donate by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). In thanks for helping meet patient needs at a challenging time of year, all who come to give through June 13 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. And all who come to donate June 14-30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card by email. Restrictions apply and are available at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.