Arthea Bagby, also known as Artie to her family and friends, has been battling leukemia for four years, but never lets it slow her down.
At the young age of 70, she still goes to work every day at her family-owned child day care. When talking to her family and friends they only use words such as caring, heart of gold, loving, courageous and so on, to describe her personality and perseverance. She is known in her close knit community as somebody who will always be there to help a friend in need. Little did Artie know, this past August she was going to become that friend in need.
Two days before she was scheduled to leave for her annual family vacation, Artie began to feel sick and went to the doctor where he informed her that her blood count had dropped but it was nothing to worry about. So she went home thinking maybe she was just tired from the chemotherapy treatments she was receiving and went to bed to get plenty of rest.
The next morning she woke feeling worse and went back to the doctor where he proceeded to tell her that she was in need of two units of blood and to go straight to Henrico Doctor’s Hospital to receive them. By the time she got there, only ten minutes away from her doctor’s office, her blood count had dropped even more and she was in need of four units of blood. “This was the third time I had been admitted to the hospital in my whole life,” said Artie. She informed me that the other two times were when she was born and when she gave birth to her daughter. Artie’s body successfully accepted the blood transfusion and she spent the night in the hospital to be monitored. The next day, after receiving four units of blood, she carried on with her family vacation.
“Thanks to Virginia Blood Services and the wonderful people who donate, I am here and able to make memories with my family and friends each and every day.” Artie says that she loves her job and what she does so much that she will work as long as she is here on Earth. After receiving those four units of blood, Artie’s family has been inspired to become donors. Since then, her grandson and daughter have donated and for both of them it was their first time donating. She has also inspired several parents who bring their children to her family-owned child day care to donate as well as some of her friends from her local community and church.
Artie is such an inspiring and courageous woman that her family and friends look to her and see strength. “I live for the love that I can give to my family and friends and nothing else matters in life. The power of the love that I have for them gives me the strength to get up and go every day and has helped me to become the person that I am today,” said strongly by Artie.
I asked Artie if there is one thing she would tell future donors and her response was, “By donating you are giving someone a second chance at life, and giving them the opportunity to be here with the ones they love and what more could anyone ask for.” Artie wanted to end our conversation by telling me, “The way I am repaying my donors for what they did for me is by living my life to the fullest every day with the gifts they gave me.”