Give Blood MAG

By Elizabeth Brechue, Auburn, NY

My life changed forever in April 2004, when my seemingly healthy grandfather was diagnosed with leukemia.

He had been sick for two months. We thought it was pneumonia, but despite the antibiotics, his condition worsened. By the time he got to a hospital, the doctors did not expect him to survive. At that point, he received his first blood transfusion. Doctors told us he was losing blood because his body was making too many white blood cells, which were leukemic and not maturing. His treatment included seven days of high-dose chemotherapy, and many more pints of blood, until his bone marrow was functioning properly. Although considered in remission after that first treatment, his leukemia and treatments would continue for two and a half years.

I am so grateful to have had that time with him. My grandfather fought valiantly. He received countless transfusions – blood that had been donated by strangers my grandfather never met and could never thank. We were often at the hospital when he received blood, each of us realizing that it was thanks to the kindness of strangers.

Although the transfusions could not cure his leukemia, they definitely lengthened his life. Without them, he would not have survived his first hospital stay. Blood transfusions don’t just help leukemia patients; they help accident victims, those undergoing chemotherapy, those having surgery, and many others. Patients need all components of blood – platelets and red and white cells.

Donating blood is something you can do to help those in need. It is something you should feel good about doing. You never know when you or someone you love might need blood. You can donate every two months if you are healthy, at least 16 or 17 years old (depending on the state), and weigh at least 110 pounds. It is virtually painless and takes just an hour.

So far, almost every member of my family has donated as a way of paying back for all the blood my grandfather received while he was sick. I will turn 16 soon and will be eligible to give. I am looking forward to that day, and will be so proud to do that in memory of my grandfather.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

Eve said...
on Sep. 10 2008 at 12:14 am
Oh my gosh. That was such a good story! That makes me want to be able to give blood when I'm 16 and if I get to 110 pounds!! Your story touched my heart so I will try to give blood when I get the chance.

Parkland Book

Parkland Speaks

Smith Summer