Hundreds of Blood Donors Help a Hero
(photo of Capt. Phillip Michael “Mike” Hogan, April 15, 1971 just after his last flight on his first tour of duty in the Vietnam War. A ceremony to celebrate his last flight, Mike had just been sprayed by a fire truck and given a bottle of champagne.)
Born on D-Day, Mike Hogan was raised in Northwest Louisiana and attended Louisiana Tech University before entering the Air Force. In his early 20s, Mike’s service to our country included two combat tours of duty in the Vietnam War. Flying the F4 Phantom, his bravery and service was recognized with 19 air medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.
Upon returning to the U.S., Mike found his true love, Trisha
with whom he has three daughters, and he has enjoyed a career in civil engineering and as a financial consultant.
However, in 2007 the physical impact of his service to our country was becoming more aggressive. He was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a type of a cancer often linked to Agent Orange exposure. Multiple Myeloma is a common form of blood cancer from which about 50 percent of those diagnosed will die within four years.
During cancer treatment, as with many cancer patients, Mike suffered from anemia so severe that he needed blood transfusions to survive. He was given several hundred blood transfusions throughout the course of his treatments at Willis-Knighton and Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center. In 2011, Mike went to the Mayo Clinic for six weeks to receive Stem Cell Therapy from his own stem cells.
Now, Mike’s cancer is in remission.
After years of his service to our country, blood donors were able to provide a life-saving gift to Mike. He is able to continue enjoying his career; his family has grown to include two granddaughters and a grandson on the way, and he has even authored a book No War for Heroes, which was performed at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2011-12 Member Stage Reading Series.
Who uses blood and why?
by Philip Seaman
One out of every seven people who enter the hospital will need blood, but who gets that blood? Blood and its components are used for a number of different medical purposes.
Up to thirty percent of donated blood goes to cancer patients. When a cancer patient goes through chemotherapy their bodies may lose the capability to create certain components of their blood, other times the cancer itself inhibits the production of blood components. These patients rely on volunteer blood donors to continue to try to overcome their condition.
Accidents and burn victims use about twenty five percent of donated blood. Burn victims often receive plasma, the liquid part of the blood, to increase their fluids, and help relieve and heal the burn. Accident patients often receive blood that comes from a universal donor, O- blood type, because there may not be time to determine their blood type.
Fifteen percent of the blood collected goes to heart patients. About one third of every heart surgery will require a blood transfusion. Another fifteen percent of the healthy blood donated will go to stomach or bowel patients. One of the functions of your liver is to regulate the production of platelets. Sometimes a liver does not function correctly and the patient will need transfusions of platelets which is a blood product.
Another reason someone would need blood is if they have a medical condition that causes bleeding, such as hemophilia. Hemophilia is a condition that inhibits the body from clotting blood. Hemophiliacs require regular transfusions of plasma that contain clotting factors missing in the patient's blood.
There are continuous lifesaving uses for your blood donations and just a small portion of them have been covered here. Every two seconds, someone somewhere needs blood, and now you know some of the reasons why.
Emmanuel, J. C., McClelland, B., Page, R., Chisakuta, A., Lackritz, E., & Zetterstrom, H. (n.d.). The Clinical Use of Blood. Retrieved September 20, 2013, from The Clinical Use of Blood: http://www.who.int/bloodsafety/clinical_use/en/
Staff, T. M. (n.d.). Blood Transfusion. Retrieved September 20, 2013, from The Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/blood-transfusion
Who Needs a Blood Transfusion. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2013, from www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health//dci/diseases/bt/bt_whoneeds.html
A Chance Occurrence
by Jenifer Bailey (photo of Jenifer and Chance Bailey)
Life is a complex adventure consisting of many different events and circumstances. From the mundane to extraordinary, our lives can take us on many different journeys. Some of these occasions can be planned out and others, sometimes the most wonderful paths and occurrences, are unchartered and happen by chance. An occurrence refers to something taking place or coming to pass. The word chance can be perceived many different ways. It has been defined as an unpredictable event, a favorable set of circumstances, luck, and an opportunity. I have always been one to set goals, establish a plan to obtain my goal, and execute the plan for a desired outcome. This generally works out pretty well, but I was taught a lesson while dealing with health issues along with infertility, that not everything is in our control and sometimes we must learn acceptance of things that are not in our power, and to appreciate and recognize when wonderful occurrences by chance come along.
After a long period of inability to conceive another child, my doctor recommended a low risk invasive surgery, called laparoscopy. I ironically scheduled the surgery on my birthday. I was not nervous prior to the procedure, I was just anxious to know the results. Sadly, when I was in the recovery section of the hospital, my doctor advised that things were worse than anyone anticipated. He had performed some corrective procedures, but concluded that I would not be able to achieve another pregnancy.
I went home that day sore from the procedure and with a heavy heart and the burden of accepting that the child I had wanted for so long could not be. Most of what happened after making it home are hazy to me. It was as if I were in a dream watching the scenes instead of living them. I was only home for a few hours before being rushed back to the hospital. I was bleeding internally and had to undergo a second surgery. I will never forget being prepped for surgery and lying in the room you are put in while waiting to go back. I was all alone and it was so surreal and different than when I had surgery that morning. Before my first surgery it was a busy room lined with beds filled with other patients being prepped for their surgeries, nurses running around, and multiple machines beeping. My second surgery was the complete opposite. While the doctor was preparing for the surgery, I was in a dim room filled with empty beds, complete silence, and the overwhelming sense of not belonging there. I felt like an intruder, someone who was misplaced. I was too tired to be afraid and emotionally I was numb. The second surgery revealed that I had a bleeding disorder and because of the laparoscopy had almost bled out. The irony of the surgery being on the anniversary of my birth was that it was almost the date of my death. I received a total of three blood transfusions. I remember my husband having a serious conversation with me and him telling me that I had to receive the blood transfusions. I wanted to receive blood from my husband, but it was not allowed. The idea of having some unknown person’s blood going into my body really bothered me. I watched the bag of foreign blood that was connected to me and was repulsed at the dark red bag. While it was not something I favored, it was necessary to my survival and I am eternally grateful to whomever donated the blood that sustained me. To add to the seriousness of the situation, I contracted a dangerous infection that was resistant to antibiotics, diagnosed with asthma, and developed multiple blood clots. Thankfully, the antibiotics finally worked and after being on oxygen for days, I was well enough to be released from the hospital.
Through weeks of recovery and being homebound, I came to terms with the fact that I would not be able to have the child my heart longed for. I was determined not to stay in that dark place that infertility can lead you. I had been given a new lease on living and adjusted my perception regarding my life accordingly.
On my mission to create life, I almost lost my own. I was humbled by my painful journey and discovered a newfound appreciation for life and how fragile it can be. I personally understand how miserable issues regarding fertility are, and sympathize with anyone who has been affected by it. I also have compassion for hemophiliacs, and want to become an advocate for other people suffering from bleeding disorders. I will forever have a deep appreciation for anyone who donates blood.
I have learned that while things may not always go as expected, just when things seems hopeless, a miracle can present itself and bring with it more blessings that one could ever dream possible. Four months after my surgery, I discovered that I was pregnant. Nine months later I delivered a healthy boy, his name is Chance.
A Great-Grandfather’s Death Certificate Lead to my HHT Diagnosis
The family picture (from left to right) is of my grandmother (Sue Grimmett), grandfather (Harold Grimmett), father (Allen Grimmett), and me.
Katie Grimmett- a Junction City, Ark. resident shares her family's struggle with HHT
My great-grandfather, Benjiman Grimmett, struggled with bleeding problems all of his life. However, bleeding was not an abnormal occurrence to my great-grandfather. Benjiman’s mother also suffered from horrible nosebleeds, and bleeding was a normal thing in the Grimmett family. Even though my great-grandfather suffered from nosebleeds all of his life, as he became older his bleeding worsened. By the time he reached his seventies he began to require blood transfusions. His bleeding became worse and worse, and in 1974, at the age of 79, he passed away from the consequences of internal bleeding. My grandfather and father also inherited this bleeding condition and continued to live with the annoying daily nosebleeds.
In 1990, I was born, and the doctors soon discovered that something was terribly wrong. I was blind. After an examination, an ophthalmologist determined that I had been born without optic nerves and declared that I would never see. My parents did all they could for me and implored their family and friends to pray. After weeks of praying and waiting, one day my father came in to our living room and noticed that for the first time I looked up at him and followed him across the room with my eyes. My parents took me to the doctor, and the pediatric ophthalmologist fell down on his knees to thank God for doing what neither he nor any other physician could do. From that point on, I continued to grow into a healthy young girl, except for one thing: I began to get the family nosebleeds. I required cauterization of my nose from time to time and dealt with the bleeds as they came along. However, in December of 1999, I had an experience my family and I will never forget. During the night of December 8th, my parents heard me coughing, and my mother came to check on me. She found me lying in a pool of blood, and I was rushed to the emergency room. The ENT performed surgery and stopped the bleeding from my throat. After a couple of days in the hospital I was released to come home. However, exactly two weeks later, I had another attack which was worse than the first. This time I had lost so much blood that I had gone into shock. I was given a blood transfusion, and the doctor performed surgery on my throat once again. At this time, my family realized that the inherited bleeding condition was more than just an annoying nosebleed problem. Soon afterwards, my grandmother found my great-grandfather’s death certificate and discovered the name of this strange condition, Osler Weber Rendu Syndrome.
Osler Weber Rendu Syndrome, or Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia as it is now commonly referred to, is an inherited bleeding disorder which affects approximately 1 in 5,000 people. HHT affects the nose, skin, lungs, brain, liver, spine, and other organs. Its main consequence is nosebleeds. However, HHT can also cause telangiectasias (small spots which burst open and bleed) on the skin or on the major organs. Spots on the organs are referred to as arteriovenous malformations and can cause serious damage, such as stroke or brain abscess, if left untreated. HHT affects men and women equally, and affected individuals have a 50% chance of passing the disorder to their children. With this knowledge, my family now had the power to fight this rare condition.
After my throat surgery, I had a CT scan to check for AVMs on my lungs. The test showed that I had two malformations, and I was sent to the nearest HHT treatment center at the time, which was in Salt Lake City, Utah. While in Utah, I had coils put on my lungs to fix the AVMs, and in 2011, I had the same procedure at the newly opened HHT Treatment Center in Dallas, Texas. I now have ten coils and a plug in both of my lungs. I require follow-ups every few years to check for new AVMs. In addition to the lung scans, I had a MRI of my brain in August of 2012. The MRI revealed that I have a small AVM. The test also showed something interesting. Part of my brain did not develop. The doctor at the HHT Center in Little Rock has concluded that the brain AVM caused me to have a stroke while in my mother’s womb, and, thereby, a portion of my brain did not develop. We now know why I was born without eyesight. This discovery has been the most recent part of my journey with HHT, and this disorder continues to have an impact on my family.
The greatest inspiration in my life has always been my grandfather, Harold Grimmett. He battled nosebleeds from a young age, and as he aged his bleeding became continually worse and at times he required blood transfusions. However, in spite of all of his bleeding, he had a zeal for life and a great love for his family. He always wanted to know how I was doing and how my bleeding was. My grandfather never focused on himself. Instead, he desired to help and be a friend to everyone around him. Unfortunately, we lost my grandfather in October of 2011 due to a stroke. The exact causes of the stroke will never be known, but one thing is sure, no one will ever take his place and HHT has caused too many tragedies in my own family and in countless other lives. For this reason, I am on a mission to spread the word about HHT and encourage people to give blood for those who suffer. Education is power, and it is my desire that through my efforts others will be saved from tragedies and will get diagnosed and treated before it is too late.
Be part of Cancer Research Today for a Cancer-Free Tomorrow!
Cancer is a word heard too often here at LifeShare Blood Centers and in our community. That is why we are fighting back against this disease with the American Cancer Society by encouraging you to consider taking part in the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3).
Knowing the importance of cancer research, LifeShare has agreed to be a promotional partner for the study in the North Louisiana area. We are extending this message to encourage everyone in the area to be a Community Champion and/or enroll in the study.
The ultimate goal of CPS-3 is to enroll men and women from various racial/ethnic backgrounds from across the U.S. to participate in a study that will help researches better understand the lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer and will save lives.
American Cancer Society studies began in the 1950s and involved hundreds of thousands of volunteer participants. These studies have led to discoveries such as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer and the role obesity plays in the risk of several cancers. The new CPS-3 will help researchers build on evidence from previous studies, and help bring us closer to eliminating cancer as a major health burden for this and future generations.
To enroll in the study you must be between the ages of 30 and 65 and have never been diagnosed with cancer. Enrollment will be available during the week of July 23 – 27 at these community
Participating is easy and involves the following steps:
• Visit www.cps3northla.org to schedule your appointment. Appointments will take place during July 23-27.
• After scheduling your appointment, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions to go online and complete the comprehensive survey which will ask for detailed information on lifestyle, behavioral, and other factors related to health.
• At your appointment, you will be asked to sign an informed consent form, complete a short survey, and provide a waist measure and a small blood sample (similar to a doctor’s visit). The blood sample will be taken by a certified, trained phlebotomist.
• At home, you will be asked to complete mailed surveys every few years over the next 20-30 years to update lifestyle, medical, and behavioral information.
Your appointment should last 20-30 minutes. Completing the comprehensive survey online prior to your appointment will take approximately 45-60 minutes. All personal information and any individual results of blood analyses that may be performed will be kept strictly confidential by CPS-3 research staff. There will be no cost to you to participate.
If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements, your significant participation comes from telling everyone you know about this opportunity. Anyone can become a Community Champion by registering online and helping others sign up for the study.
For more information about CPS-3, please visit cancer.org/cps3, email
or call toll-free 1.888.604.5888. Remember, you can schedule your appointment today at www.cps3northla.org.
This is our chance to fight back against a disease that takes too much. I hope you will take part in this historic study and share this message with all those you know who want to join in this fight.
Blood Makes a Difference
Dantrell K. Howard was first diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia at 8 years old by her sister who was going to school during that time to become a phlebotomist. “We always wondered why I would get so lethargic as a kid. I would get real bad stomach aches and fever,” says Dantrell. After being diagnosed, Dantrell began receiving treatment at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport; LifeShare, through local donors, is the exclusive supplier of blood to LSUMC – Shreveport. Blood and exchange transfusions help Dantrell manage this disease and improve her quality of life. “After receiving blood,” Dantrell says, “I’m ready to do whatever. I have so much energy.”
For those that aren’t familiar with Sickle Cell Disease, it is a genetic disorder that affects the red blood cells, which use a protein called hemoglobin to transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Normally, red blood cells are round and flexible so they can travel freely through narrow blood vessels. Patients with this disease have sickle-shaped red blood cells which often get stuck in blood vessels; this can cause episodes of pain called “Sickle crisies,” delayed growth, strokes, jaundice and more.
Dantrell, 38 years old now, has had to deal with some of these effects herself. She had to have an artificial hip put in because of Avascular Necrosis, a disease where bone tissue dies due to a lack of blood supply, common in Sickle Cell patients. A minor stroke has also caused her to lose some feeling in her face.
“Blood for this disease is very important. There’s so much pain that comes with this disease. If you don’t have the blood, you can’t get rid of the pain,” says Dantrell. Of the 10 blood transfusions and 3 exchange transfusions that Dantrell has gone through, she has used approximately 45 pints of blood. Because multiple transfusions have created the need for very specialized matching of the blood donor, she had to wait two weeks for her last transfusion because there were no donors available. “It’s often very hard when waiting on the blood for my surgeries and transfusions,” she says.
Watching Dantrell fight through this disease has caused her husband and many of her family members to become regular blood donors. “I just want to encourage people to give,” says Dantrell, “because the blood does make a difference.”
In the United States, Sickle Cell Disease most commonly affects African-Americans. About 1 out of every 500 African-American babies born in the United States has this disease. Additionally, because they are transfused so often, many Sickle Cell patients produce antibodies against red blood cells which are unlike their own. Once these antibodies are produced, the patient must receive blood specifically typed, or antigen-matched, to prevent a reaction with antibodies present. When attempting to find antigen-matched blood, the odds are often significantly increased by screening donors of the same ethnicity as the patient. In some cases, matched blood is almost impossible to find in donors of another race. Therefore, with some Sickle Cell patients, the rare blood types they need are only found in African-Americans. This is why it is important to Sickle Cell patients for the African-American population to donate blood. By becoming a regular blood donor, you are helping ensure those like Dantrell who depend on antigen-matched, blood will not have to wait for it- especially when there are plenty of us in the community who can provide it.