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“After childbirth, it took days to get the blood I needed. But without it, I wouldn’t be here.” Quote from Heather, a blood donation recipient.

I’ve suffered a lot because it always takes a long time to find the blood I need. Now, because I’ve built up antibodies from having so many transfusions, it’s harder than ever for doctors to find blood that works.

I’ve needed life-saving blood transfusions countless times

I’ve been very sick with sickle cell disease since birth and have spent a lot of time in the hospital. Throughout my life, I’ve required blood many different times.

The first time there was no blood available was when I had to have a complete blood exchange for acute chest syndrome, which is similar to acute pneumonia and is the number one cause of death from sickle cell. I needed so much blood that my dad, who has a huge family, rallied everyone, saying: “everyone needs to go donate blood tomorrow morning.” And they did.

The thought of death loomed over me

The next time was when I developed three pulmonary embolisms. I waited over 48 hours for blood, and the thought of death loomed over me while the doctors did everything in their power to prevent me from coding.

Then, when my son was born by C-section, I had a sickle cell crisis. Not only did my hemoglobin drop close to the point of no return, but I developed pneumonia. Again, I had to wait for urgently needed blood. And just this year, when I required blood due to a poor reaction to a medication, it took almost two days to find it.

We’re teaching our son how important it is to donate blood

My husband gives blood every other month and takes our son with him, so he’s learning early that donating blood is important and saves lives. It could be his mommy’s life that is in need of saving.

To save someone you don’t know, that’s just amazing

I absolutely wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the kindness of blood donors. I’m very grateful to everyone who donates. I don't know if I'm always deserving of it, but I pray that I am.

Heather kissing her son on the cheek.

“Every time I receive a blood donation, it is a refresh on life. It’s moments that I wasn’t guaranteed before. I’m just so thankful that people are willing to do that.”

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