At 115 donations strong, William “Bill” Deekens is a regular blood donor who fully appreciates the need and demand for blood. On March 4, 1985, Bill and his wife Donna were at the hospital awaiting the birth of their first child, Brenton Carter Deekens.
Being two days past his due date, the arrival of Brenton was well expected and anticipated by his soon-to-be parents. As complications related to labor pains arose, doctors were forced to bring Brenton into the world quickly, rushing him away for examination. Tests were run to determine what complications may have resulted from the labor pains and whether or not Brenton had suffered any trauma as a result. The doctors worked on Brenton while Bill and Donna waited anxiously for the status of their firstborn son.
When the doctor finally spoke to Bill, the diagnosis was alarming. Due to a condition related to fetal anemia, Brenton would need to have a blood transfusion right away in order to save his life. Bill knew immediately how severe the situation had become. “The doctor came up to me and said ‘he needs to have a transfusion immediately’ and I remember thinking, this is not the way things are supposed to be, but thank goodness it’s available,” said Bill.
As Brent began receiving blood his condition slowly improved. Blood saved Brenton’s life, something Bill and Donna have never taken for granted. Though he had donated blood in the past, the lifesaving effect blood had on Brenton would change the way Bill viewed blood donation, opening his eyes to the importance of a healthy, reliable blood supply. Recalling the time he spent watching his son receive the blood in the neonatal unit Bill said, “I can remember seeing him with a little needle in his hand and I realized that somebody thought enough about blood donation to make it possible and it was important enough to save Brenton, so I’m going to get serious about donating.”
As a member of Virginia Blood Services’ Society of 100, Bill continues his commitment to blood donation to this day. Over the past 26 years, Bill has completed 115 donations, giving blood about every 56 days. “I started giving blood as a reward for my fraternity at Virginia Tech in the early 70s, going occasionally after college with different employers, but the effect blood had on my son is what influenced me to become serious about donating. I encourage others to donate because you never know who may need blood, like my son did,” said Bill.