Atlanta Blood Services considers it a privilege to be a part of many patients treatment process. We get to know the patients, their family members and friends and we are overjoyed when our patients go into remission. Here are two of the many, many successful stories that we have been a part of.
Howie was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2006 and needed whole blood and platelets throughout his treatment. Because Howie’s blood type is AB—the most rare—it was especially hard to locate blood for him.
After Howie was diagnosed, he spent 3 ½ months in the hospital receiving chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, and blood and platelets every day. After he was released, Howie had to come every weekday, and some weekends, for three months afterwards to receive blood and platelets. He slowly eased off to two to three visits a week, but it took nearly a year until he no longer needed blood transfusions.
“It was particularly hard during the holidays, but Atlanta Blood Services did a phenomenal job. Sometimes I would arrive at 8 a.m. and my type of blood was not available until 4 p.m., so I would wait. No one realizes the shortage of blood in the Atlanta area and how much it is needed for people with leukemia and other blood diseases to survive chemo and bone marrow transplants in order to right on. But no matter what, Atlanta Blood Services would get a donor for me or find the blood somewhere. They never let me down.”
After being released in 2006, Howie has been living a regular and very fulfilled life with his family.
More than 1 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Like Howie, many cancer patients do not have the ability to make their own platelets while undergoing treatment and many use all of the various blood components, sometimes daily, during their treatment. Your blood donation helps us assure the necessary supply is there for them.
Laurie was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia in 2000 and required 2-3 pints of platelets or blood products a day while fighting this disease. It is important for leukemia patients to have a good platelet count to prevent bleeding and to be strong enough to undergo life saving treatments. Transfusions of platelets and red blood cells helped Laurie maintain healthy levels while undergoing a bone marrow transplant.
Despite an extremely hard journey—Laurie was in the hospital and away from her family for 8 months during the first year and a half while her life was supported by blood components—a bone marrow donor was found and her body accepted the transplant.
“I am so grateful to Atlanta Blood Services and all of the staff there. Considering the amount of platelets and blood products that I used, they made sure whatever blood products I needed was always there for me. Without those donors, I would not have made it.” said Laurie.
It really meant a lot to me that so many people, some that I didn’t know, donated on my behalf. It truly was a community-wide effort. People in my neighborhood spread the word and organized blood drives at their places of work and encouraged others to come in and donate. Years later, I still have people come up to me—total strangers—to tell me that they donated blood for me. It is amazing how many people helped save my life.”
Now, Laurie considers herself cured and enjoys returning to the normal life of taking care of her family and working at Northside Hospital. She now volunteers to talk with patients who are fighting the same leukemia battle she fought and won, and she brings them hope. She also encourages everyone she knows to donate blood.
When asked if there was one thing she would like to say to others, Laurie responded “Donate blood, especially platelets. Save a life. Platelets are a leukemia patient’s life blood. It is painless, takes little time and you can donate every 7 days. I cannot express in words how important it is to donate.”