Sometimes it’s not a matter of saving lives…

A few months ago I was talking to a group of third-graders, trying to get them to remind their parents about the upcoming blood drive in the school. I gave it my usual “each donation saves three lives” spiel and thought I was doing a good job. Then a little girl raised her hand and asked “If blood saves lives then how come my daddy was sick and he died?” To this day I’m not sure exactly how I answered her question. What I do know is that I cried all the way home and began to wonder if this job was as good as I kept saying it was. I mean, what was it all for?

My mind wandered back to my Uncle Bobby. He came for a week’s vacation and stayed two years because he was diagnosed with cancer while at my house, and we didn’t have the heart to send him back to his little apartment where he would be all alone. Well, long story short – he was terminal, and got to the point where he wouldn’t eat. The day came for his chemotherapy and we almost had to carry him into the facility for his treatment. On this particular day his “numbers” were so low that they had to do a blood transfusion first.

You have to understand that we went in with a very sick, weak man. But while the blood was dripping into his arm for four hours, a miraculous change came over him – his pallor changed from dusky grey to rosy pink, the light came back in his eyes, and he even started gabbing with the nurses and staff taking care of him. When the transfusion and the chemo were over, he got himself up off the bed, patted his belly and said “can we stop at Burger King on the way home?”

From that moment on, whenever he was to go for chemo, my dad would rap on his door and say “Bobby, Burger King tomorrow!” He would smile and anticipate the feast that was to come the next day.

My point? Well, a blood transfusion doesn’t always save lives. But it can make those lives a little better. Taking a bad day for someone who has a lot of them lined up, and turning it into a good one is really a priceless gift. Not only to the “Uncle Bobby’s” of the world, but to their friends and family as well. Remember, for every patient who needs our help, there’s someone waiting by the phone for the daily “how’s he doing?” report.

Your lifesaving gift is just that – a precious gift that can give life, or like ripples in a pond, it can improve the life of patients and families alike. Thank you for supporting us with your donation!

-This post was submitted by Pat Bonnier, Donor Program Supervisor at Bon Secours Charity Health System