In 2004, the World Health Organization designated June 14th World Blood Donor Day. The annual observance is a time to highlight the ongoing need for blood donations. The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted the need for consistently stocked blood banks for life-saving care across the globe. As blood supplies drop to the lowest levels in over a decade, TeamHealth has led a virtual blood drive where participants pledge to make an appointment with a donation center near them. To help garner support for World Blood Donor Day 2022, our associates are sharing what motivates them to donate blood.
Why Donate Blood?
“Eighteen months ago, my husband required 12 units of platelets and nine units of whole blood over the course of four days. He was undergoing treatment for diffuse B cell lymphoma and developed a gastric perforation. He underwent emergency surgery and did well. Twenty four hours later, he coded with a saddle pulmonary embolism. His only chance was TPA, which was extremely risky 24 hours after surgery. His blood counts were already poor, since he had just finished chemo three days prior. The transfusions and the skill and compassion of the people treating him are why he is still alive today. I hope to “pay it forward” by donating my own blood, hoping that it will help save someone else.” – Dr. Christina Dolack, Facility Medical Director, Post-Acute Care
“My father was a marine and fought in the Vietnam War. He was exposed to Agent Orange. He has always donated blood for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, in 2002 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had to have surgery. During his surgery, he lost a lot of blood and had to have a few transfusions, but he survived and is cancer free and is living life to the fullest. His cancer prevents him from donating blood anymore, so I picked up where he left off. I try to donate every 56 days, and I encourage my husband and children to do so, too. I am almost to 10 gallons. Donating blood is an easy way to help so many people – how could I not do it?” – Kelly Gilbert, Clinic Coder, Basepoint Billing Center
“Since working in a level one trauma center emergency department, I have seen firsthand that donated blood saves lives, and no day is ever promised. One day it may very well be me that needs it. So, I donate for those who do not think they will ever need it, because without it, they may not have that second chance to be with their loved ones. Mostly, everyone wakes up in the morning with their entire day/week/month planned in advance. Those very people are the ones I am speaking about. They are the ones who never give a thought about needing donated blood. People that wake in the morning, taking for granted that all will go as scheduled – until it doesn’t. For some, it may be that they were a few minutes late and in their hurry caused an accident, one that was traumatic enough that they needed blood to stay alive for the doctors to be able to repair them. Or, it could be for the other person, who was not running late, but was caught in this person’s accident and needed the blood to stay alive. For all the gunshot victims, workplace injuries, motor vehicle accidents and many other traumatic events that lead to people needing blood to stay alive, most of which as I stated, have never had it even cross their minds that they would ever have to rely on someone else’s blood to live. I donate for those people, the ones who need it – they just do not know it yet.” – Casey Putnam, Operations Support Specialist, AccessNurse
“My family members have been saved multiple times by the kindness and generosity of blood donors. I’m very thankful for the donations and feel very lucky to have my family here with me in part due to the donations. For instance, my mom had multiple back surgeries and needed a few pints during the process. Today, she receives plasma regularly to help her immune system. My father-in-law also needed many pints of blood, one after another, when he had a major tear in his gastrointestinal tract. He was bleeding so quickly the clinicians had to give him numerous pints of blood to save his life while they repaired the tear. During the COVID pandemic, like many, I felt the need to do something to help. At the time, I felt that donating blood was something I could do. In July 2022, I will have completed donating two gallons since March 2020. American Red Cross offers Power Red which allows me to donate two pints of red blood cells at once by the help of an automated process that separates my red blood cells from the other blood components, and then returns the plasma and platelets back to me.” – Michael Berke, Manager, Clinical Applications
“I have never been comfortable donating blood because I cannot handle the sight of my own blood being drawn. I received the blood drive pledge from TeamHealth literally days after my father, who is battling five different cancers (neck, bladder, lung, liver and pancreatic cancer), had to receive three blood transfusions emergently due to him being prescribed what we later found out was a lethal dose of blood thinners. The blood thinners were prescribed because the cancers were causing blood clots on his lung and had also caused an abdominal aortic aneurysm. I literally was watching my father slowly bleeding out from all different parts of his body. It was because other people donated blood that my father survived that weekend. I knew at that moment as I watched life re-enter my father’s body that I needed to return the favor to help someone else. I realized that my fear of having blood drawn was miniscule and only temporary compared to another person’s fear that they could potentially lose a loved one due to a blood bank shortage. I vow to now regularly donate blood in honor of my father’s life being saved that weekend as were able to get extra quality time with my father before he passed on May 1, 2022.” – Mary Linton, Senior Clinical Practice Manager, Post-Acute Care
World Blood Donor Day 2022
Thank you to all blood donors! TeamHealth is grateful to those who pledged to donate in our virtual drive and to those who donate throughout the year. Your donation saves lives. Find a donation center near you. For more stories from our clinicians, associates and the communities we serve, subscribe to our blog.