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Giving Thanks for Blood Donations

This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for all of you who have donated blood or platelets to help save lives over the years. Here are a few former patients and their families who want to say thank you for your lifesaving contributions.

Sheri Van Bibber

Sheri holding up a sign thanking blood donors for the opportunity to raise her family.

Sheri Van Bibber is an American Red Cross staff member in Salt Lake City. She is a mother of three. After delivering her first two children via cesarean, scar tissue built up that required surgery during her third delivery. Complications caused Sheri to severely bleed, and she was given the choice to accept a blood transfusion or risk death. Sheri accepted the blood donation and she is forever grateful to blood donors. She brought this experience with her when she joined the Red Cross. She shared, the mission of blood services was “in my heart and veins.” Now, Sheri, her husband, children and grandchildren all donate blood.

“We have made this a tradition in our family — to pay it forward!” said Sheri.

Kathleen Dykman

Kathleen with her two children.

Four years ago, Kathleen Dykman was pregnant with twins. At 38 weeks, her labor was induced, which is not uncommon for multiple birth pregnancies. However, after more than 30 hours of labor and concern for her babies’ health, Kathleen was quickly admitted for an emergency caesarian surgery. During the surgery, she developed a rare, life-threatening blood disorder called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) causing severe hemorrhaging and requiring immediate blood transfusions. If not treated quickly, DIC can be fatal to the mother and the babies due to massive blood loss or organ failure. Kathleen needed approximately 24 units of blood and an additional six units in follow-up treatments. The blood products she received that day helped save her life. Today, Kathleen and her twins, Anna and Thomas, now age four, are healthy and grateful for volunteer blood donors.

“Thank you blood donors. Because of you, I get to be a mom,” said Kathleen.

Lily Dotson

Lily's mom holding up a sign that thanks blood donors for saving her daughter's life.

Lily was just 5-years-old when she was diagnosed with leukemia. Doctors put her on an aggressive treatment plan which included multiple blood transfusions, chemotherapy sessions and other treatments. Though her diagnosis and treatment plan was initially frightening—Lily’s fight inspired her community to come together to help save her life and many other lives by rolling up their sleeves and donating blood. In 2014, Lily received the Red Cross Lifesaving Award for her efforts to help recruit new blood donors and collect much-needed blood donations for patients. Today, Lily is 12 yearsold and in middle school—she has been cancer free for four years.

Jonathan “Jack” Ashby

Jonathan and his family standing with a sign to thank blood donors.

Jonathan “Jack” Ashby has been fighting for his life since before he was born. Jack suffers from specific immune deficiency, a condition that impacts his body’s ability to fight off infections, bacteria and viruses. Every 21 days, Jack receives an Intravenous Immunoglobulin Transfusion (IVIG), which allows him to attend school and participate in typical six-year-old activities like joining Cub Scouts, playing video games and cheering for his favorite sports teams. Jack’s IVIG treatment is made possible by the generosity of blood donors across the county, as it takes more than 1,000 blood donations to make just one transfusion.

Donate Blood Now to Help Save Lives

Right now, the Red Cross is experiencing a blood shortage.  Help make a difference for a patient in need and their family by scheduling a donation appointment today at RedCrossBlood.org. To speed up the donation process, complete a RapidPass online health history questionnaire at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass, on mobile devices and through the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.