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January is National Blood Donor Month: Patient Stories

It’s no coincidence that the start of the new year is National Blood Donor Month. Now until the rest of the year is your chance to make lifesaving a new habit. To encourage first-time and continuing blood donors to come into our Donor Centers or blood drives, we're highlighting patients, blood donors, staff members, and volunteers throughout the month. Keep an eye out for the fresh faces behind our mission to save lives!

Our Patient Stories

Mercedes, faith warrior

For Mercedes, being diagnosed with leukemia was a life-changing endeavor. During her blood cancer, she needed regular blood transfusions to be kept alive. She also received a bone marrow transplant, which saved her life and is one of greatest gifts she’ll always be grateful for. Life is uncertain and during those times, being able to relay on the generosity of others is a miracle.

Chance & Cadence, brother & sister duo

Chance and Cadence, a brother and sister duo, were both diagnosed with congenital heart defects. They have had several heart surgeries and received numerous blood transfusions. Even though these surgeries and blood transfusions will continue, they are both active young adults! Chance is now a freshmen in high school, an ASB leader, AND he helps coordinate blood drives for his high school. He loves to play basketball and is an excellent golfer. Cadence loves to watch surf competitions and make her own sushi rolls. Chance and Cadence love to skateboard. :)

Hazel, future artist

In August of 2015, at nine months old Hazel was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of blood cancer. In November of 2015, she had a bone marrow transplant, but 2 months later, she relapsed. Hazel has had numerous blood and platelet transfusions and will need additional transfusions as she undergoes further treatment.  Hazel has been fighting leukemia for half of her life, but she refuses to let it stop her from the things she loves the most, like dancing, singing, and coloring. 

Katherine, animal lover

When Katherine was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with a severe blood disorder and received over 200 units of blood products. She currently doesn't need blood transfusions but may need more in the future. Katherine wants to be a veterinarian or a nurse when she grows up because she enjoys taking care of people and animals. She enjoys climbing on monkey bars, she enjoys playing the recorder in school and reading books. She also REALLY likes to eat cheese!

Evan, adventurer

Other than having a knack for adventure and the great outdoors, Evan is a trooper. At 21 months, he was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease (KD), an illness that harms the walls of medium-sized arteries, like coronary arteries, which carries blood to the heart muscle. Thankfully, KD is treatable.

Evan went through a successful intravenous immunoglobulin, which was composed of extracted antibodies from blood donations of nearly 3,000 healthy donors! It took a village but now, Evan is better than ever. To share their gratitude for the magnitude of what blood donors can do, Evan and his family host blood drives every year. When you donate blood, you make a real difference or are a part of a collective effort to do so.

Stefanie, healthcare worker

Stefanie was once dependent on blood transfusions due to having aplastic anemia, a condition in which the body stops producing enough new blood cells. All of this changed when she underwent a successful bone marrow transplant in 2007. In 2013, she graduated from George Washington University as a physician assistant. 

She now works in hematology/oncology, where she gives patients the same life-saving support she received as a patient. Best of all, she loves playing with her 2-year-old nephew and spending time with family.

When you donate blood, you allow patients, like Stefanie, to get through life and to get to things that matter the most to us: family. 

Angel, soccer lover

Angel was diagnosed with leukemia in October 2010. He underwent chemotherapy and required several blood and platelet transfusions as part of his treatment before going into remission in June 2011. Angel, now 8 years old, loves playing soccer and Pokémon, and according to his mom, he loves to talk!

Juan, health advocate

In November 2009, Juan was diagnosed with leukemia and needed many blood transfusions as part of his treatment. In October 2010, Juan was able to receive a bone marrow transplant and was able to return to work a few months later. 

As a Border Health Assistant, Juan organizes the County of San Diego’s month-long series of blood drives. Be a lifesaving advocate like Juan and donate blood for patients like him today.

More lifesaving perspectives from our [ Staff ] [ Volunteers ] [ Blood Donors ]