1 minute readBlood

The Gift of Life: A Blood Recipient’s Poem of Gratitude

Christi 008In 1998, Christi Mead Nielsen’s life was first touched by American Red Cross blood donors when she had two valves in her heart replaced. Over the next 12 years, she received more than 50 blood transfusions, all from generous volunteer blood donors.

Christi passed away in September 2010 at the age of 47 after many years of complications from heart disease. Her funeral sermon included these words: “Chris found joy in life because she was filled with gratitude.”

The aspiring author’s gratitude extended to the Red Cross blood donors who gave her more time, more life and more stories to tell. Following Christi’s death, her husband, Kim, found the following poem that she once wrote.

The Gift of Life

Someone saved my life today.

I don’t know who they are

or even know their name.

I don’t know if they are male or female

or the color of their eyes or skin or hair.

I don’t know how they make their living

or what they dream of doing when they go out to play.

I don’t know if they believe in God

or just the kindness of strangers.

I don’t know what made them open that door

and leave a part of themselves inside.

I do know their priceless gift was the difference between life and death.

My life. My death.

Without their gift

my husband would be without his wife,

my son without his mother.

People I love would mourn

a sister, a daughter, a friend.

Without their gift

my dreams would have died

unrealized, unshared, unexplored.

But someone saved my life today

with a sacrificial gift of blood.

My family lives together


I live a life of dreams I now make real.

Someone saved my life today.

I don’t know who or where or why.

Whoever you are

I would just like to say

Thank you.

This January, National Blood Donor Month, we join Christi in expressing our gratitude for the volunteers who roll up a sleeve to help patients in need through the Red Cross.

We’re also asking for their generosity again. We have an urgent need for blood and platelet donors of all types to give blood now to help prevent a shortage.

You can help give patients like Christi another reason to be grateful. Please schedule your appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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  1. I work in heart surgery and have for my whole adult life. I found this wonderful poem while preparing a companion Power Point slide show to a video in Tribute To Charles Richard Drew, M.D., “The Father of Blood Banking.” I plan to share this poem with my colleagues unless you object. This is an amazing testament to the gifts that Charles Drew gave us as he overcame racial bias in blood donation and battling the segregation of this life source by race in 1942. This is a wonderful tribute to him.