By: Patty Flowers, CEO of Wisconsin American Red Cross
As summer begins to wind down, consider making time to donate blood or platelets with the Red Cross. #ChooseYourDay to help save lives and make an appointment this Labor Day weekend. All presenting donors who give blood between September 5-7 will receive a limited-edition t-shirt, while supplies last! Patty’s story shows how you can make a difference in the lives of hospital patients and their families with this free and lifesaving gift.
“You want me in the delivery room with you?” I exclaimed! Of course, it took me just two seconds to say ‘yes’ to my daughter when she was getting ready to deliver her first child at age 39. This little boy was our miracle baby as she had been told she most likely would never be able to become pregnant. As I’ve heard so many times before, once the stress of getting pregnant goes away, often a little one joins us. True for our family and I was so honored to be asked to be a part of this miracle that was unfolding before us.
On July 22, 2015, I was sitting with her at the registration desk at the hospital and then back in the labor and delivery department when the nurse asked if she would accept blood transfusions if needed. The question actually took me off guard because I hadn’t thought of her actually needing blood, but I blurted out “is it Red Cross blood”? The nurse looked at me as if she’d never been asked that question before and then said “I’ve never been asked that before”. My daughter threw me a look like really Mom?, but she tolerated me asking. The nurse had to check to see who this hospital’s blood supplier was and when she came back in our room to tell me that indeed it would be Red Cross blood, I was very satisfied. Why? Well, I know the rigorous testing and regulations that have to be followed by blood collections and I know how safe Red Cross blood is. Sitting in that hospital with my daughter, knowing she was in very good hands and that she had Red Cross blood waiting in case she needed it was quite comforting to me.
Michael Robert joined us at 1:06 PM on July 23, 2015 with a full head of black hair. Of course I think he’s the cutest, best baby, and I know I’m biased, but he really is! His delivery was not an easy one but my daughter never did need any blood. I am so grateful for the donors who had given those pints of blood that were waiting for her in case she needed it – it means as much to me as if she had been transfused.
I donate blood as often as I can through one of our Red Cross blood drives and I hope you will too. Knowing that one pint of my blood can save up to three lives is a very powerful reason to make me take the hour I need to plan for a donation, but now I equate it to that moment when my daughter might have needed someone else’s blood to help her. It’s personal, it’s powerful, and we need more people to decide that it’s an easy way to help someone else. Please consider donating your blood and we make it so easy to do it! Go to www.redcrossblood.org and find a drive near you or even simpler, download the Red Cross Blood app on your smart phone and you can register for a drive even faster.
100 Days of Summer. 100 Days of Hope.