During the month of June, Virginia Blood Services is encouraging donors and the community to celebrate a father, grandfather or other loved one(s) with a blood donation supporting life-saving transfusions that occur every day. The campaign recognizes families who have personally been impacted by the gift of life, or who have supported a loved one impacted by the gift of life, and shown exemplary strength, hope and courage through the process.
When you present to donate, you will receive a customized card to notify the honoree(s) of your gift of life. This allows you to personally deliver a special card to your loved one who has received blood product in the past, or you can have it sent to one of our current patients who has recently received blood product throughout our community. This is a great way to recognize your efforts in supporting life through blood donation.
Prince and his wife, of Virginia, were commited donors who taught their children the importance of giving the gift of life.
“Mom would always take us along with her when she’d donate, and at the time we didn’t get it,” said daughter Tabytha, who lives in Roanoke. “But she always told us that as soon as we were old enough, it’s something we would do. It’s what we were supposed to do, no matter what.”
Broderick Thomas, of Richmond, was 12 years old when his father passed away.
“I lost my father to a disease called cirrhosis of the liver. Prior to his death, he had battled with the illness for over 5 years and suffered through multiple hemorrhaging episodes throughout that time. When these occurred, it was so crucial that blood was available to keep him alive while the doctors worked to get the attacks under control,” Broderick said.
In his final days, Prince required an exorbitant amount of blood during the efforts to try to save his life.
“Again, the availability of this blood was invaluable in giving us, his family, those last days to spend with him and say goodbye,” Broderick added.
After the “life-changing experience,” the 4 Thomas siblings went on to become regular blood donors, and often donated in honor of their father, Prince. 2015 marks 30 years since the father and husband passed away, and the Thomas’ support of life through blood donation hasn’t changed.
“I like to think that when I give blood, I just might be giving someone else the same kind of precious time with their loved one as I had with my Dad all those years ago,” Broderick said. “I am proud to be a donor and I am thankful to all of the organizations like Virginia Blood Services that provide the gift of life to those in need!”
There are many reasons patients need this gift of life. Patients who have surgery need blood transfusions because they lose blood during their operations. For example, about one-third of all heart surgery patients have a transfusion.
Additionally, some people who have serious injuries – such as from car crashes, war, or natural disasters – need blood transfusions to replace blood lost during the injury.
Others need blood or parts of blood because of illnesses. Patients may need a blood transfusion if you have:
- A severe infection or liver disease that stops your body from properly making blood or some parts of blood.
- An illness that causes anemia, such as kidney disease or cancer. Medicines or radiation used to treat a medical condition also can cause anemia. There are many types of anemia, including aplastic, Fanconi, hemolytic, iron-deficiency, pernicious, and sickle cell anemias and thalassemia.
- A bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia or thrombocytopenia.
If you or someone you know has a story to share about a father who has personally been impacted by the gift of life, or who has supported a loved one impacted by the gift of life, and shown exemplary strength, hope and courage through the process, encourage him/her to share their story on social media and bring awareness to our community on the importance of blood donation.
Share the story on BeTheGivingType.org or on social media @vablood. (Can insert Share Your Story link on the website / insert verbiage for explanation / add actual story on web page)
Donate Blood. Support Life.