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Tag Archive | "Michigan Blood"

Blood donors help save lives of baby girl’s parents


 

When they needed it most, blood transfusions were readily available

N-Blood-donors-Grace-Brunett-Family-OutdoorsGrace Brunett is not only a regular blood donor, but helps host a blood drive in her hometown. And as if that weren’t enough, this tireless cheerleader works for Michigan Blood as a phlebotomist.

Grace can trace her commitment to her days as a student at Cedar Springs High School, where she learned in anatomy class the power of O-negative blood—her type and a universal option for anyone in need.

Just nine percent of the Michigan population has O-negative blood, which puts Grace in a class by herself. But her story is even more compelling since the day nearly six years ago when, while pregnant with her firstborn, she developed chorioamnioitis.

She eventually underwent an emergency Caesarian section. During her ordeal, which lasted nearly five hours and included an emergency hysterectomy at the age of 21, she required a blood transfusion.

“I almost died,” she says, noting that she was conscious during the entire trying episode. What she took away from that traumatic experience, however, were two rewards: One, a daughter Charlotte, now going on six years old. And two, a personal story to share about the importance of stepping up to donate blood and blood products.

Grace actually began donating blood as a student at Cedar Springs, where, coincidentally, she met Cory Brown, the father of their child. “I was a sophomore and he was a senior,” she relates. Both were members at the time of Business Professionals of America, which was sponsoring a blood drive at the high school.

Little did they know then that not only would Grace lean on blood donors for her own vital needs, but that Cory, too, would come to require multiple transfusions. “He was in a car accident before we had Charlotte, back in 2007, and then in 2011, he was hit by a drunk driver,” says Grace. In both instances, her common-law husband needed donor blood.

Today, the happy trio makes its home in Cedar Springs, where Charlotte – described by mom as being “bubbly, fun and smart” — is a whiz at jigsaw puzzles and is set to start kindergarten this comi.ng fall. Grace is diligent about giving blood for obvious personal reasons, and also because it’s just the right thing to do. She enjoys tracking her progress, pint by pint, acknowledging that she just passed the 6-gallon mark this past March.

It’s fun for her to travel back in her mind to those days in anatomy class, when the instructor mapped out how “With O-negative blood, you can basically save anybody,” she says. “It’s kind of awesome, that the whole world is basically eligible for my blood, and so that has spurred me to action.”

“It’s one hour out of one day just every two months of your life,” says Grace. “You can be selfless in that single hour and make a huge difference.”

Michigan Blood is the sole provider of blood and blood products for more than 60 hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health St. Mary’s. Donations given outside of Michigan Blood do not have direct local impact. Donating blood with Michigan Blood helps save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. We are currently in urgent need of O-Negative blood donations.

The next blood donor drive in Cedar Springs will be on August 23, at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Gym, 140 S Main St., Cedar Springs, 12:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. For more locations, visit www.miblood.org.

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Mother thanks blood donors who saved her baby’s life


“Thank you to blood donors for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.” – Jamiee Mentink, mother to premature baby Ava whose life was saved through blood transfusions.

“Thank you to blood donors for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.” – Jamiee Mentink, mother to premature baby Ava whose life was saved through blood transfusions.

Premature baby girl survives infection after two blood transfusions

As many people nationwide celebrated the special women in their lives during Mother’s Day earlier this month, Michigan Blood is celebrating Jamiee Mentink and her story of becoming a mom for the first time.

In March of 2012, daughter Ava was born through emergency C-section at only 28 weeks, due to Jamiee’s severe illness, preeclampsia. Ava, a tiny 1 lb, 11 oz. at birth, had been doing great in the NICU, but then fell sick to infection. Two blood transfusions were needed to save Ava’s life.

“Immediately after the transfusions, you could see a difference. Ava’s skin turned pink again, and she became her feisty self again,” said Jamiee. “All the medical stuff in the world couldn’t replace the blood that Ava so desperately needed.”

With time, Ava fought her way back to being a healthy, thriving baby. Ava is now a fun, feisty, sweet little girl who is energetic about dance lessons and loved being a wedding flower girl recently. She just celebrated her 4th birthday in March.

Through the experience with Ava, and as the Director of Inpatient Emergency Services at South Haven Hospital, Jamiee realizes first hand the importance of blood donation. She is now a loyal blood donor herself.

“As a nurse I used to give blood to patients regularly, but I feel bad that it took Ava’s experience for me to regularly donate,” adds Jamiee. “Like I did, I think people take for granted that somebody else is donating blood. If people could realize that donating takes just a short amount of time, but it’s something that’s so worth the cause.”

Jamiee also wishes to thank those donors whose blood saved Ava’s life.

“Thank you for saving my little girl’s life. Without you taking the time to donate blood, she wouldn’t be here today.”

To view Jamiee and Ava’s full story, watch their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pisYzF9iGAQ

Upcoming blood drives nearby include:

  • 6/03 – Spectrum Health – United Hospital, Conference Rooms Sides A and B, 615 S. Bower Street, Greenville, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • 6/06 – Rockford Area Donor Site at the Community Cabin, main room, 220 N Monroe St., Rockford, 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • 6/09 – Cedar Springs United Methodist Church – 140 S. Main Street, from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is a blood drive to support three local students. Emma Orr, Brison Ricker and Bree Town. For every person that attempts to give blood, $10 will be donated. Please call 233-8509 or go to www.miblood.org to make an appointment.
  • 6/21 – Cedar Springs Area Donor Site at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, 140 S Main St., Cedar Springs, 12:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

Michigan Blood is the sole provider of blood and blood products for more than 60 hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health St. Mary’s. Donations given outside of Michigan Blood do not have direct local impact. Donating blood with Michigan Blood helps save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. We are currently in urgent need of O-Negative blood donations. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-866-MIBLOOD (642-5663) or schedule online at https://donate.miblood.org

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Overcoming your fear of donating blood 


"I have never been a fan of needles, which is why it took me so long to become a donor. Even though I was scared, I gave it a chance because my son received blood when he needed it. It's worth a little discomfort to give back and help those in need." Sommer Deering, blood donor and mother to son who is a blood recipient

“I have never been a fan of needles, which is why it took me so long to become a donor. Even though I was scared, I gave it a chance because my son received blood when he needed it. It’s worth a little discomfort to give back and help those in need.”
Sommer Deering, blood donor and mother to son who is a blood recipient

Sommer Deering faces her fear for the sake of her son

From Michigan Blood

When Traverse City residents Sommer and Mike Deering met at the county fair as teenagers, they hit it off right away and bonded over their hobby of raising pigs. They had no idea that their summer meeting would change the course of their lives forever. They fell in love, have been married for 15 years and have two sons.

When their youngest son, Cam, was an infant, he became very sick. The family brought him to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. Baby Cam was diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), which is a disorder that causes an overproduction of cells that can form tumors or damage organs. During his week in the hospital, he needed a blood transfusion to survive.

“It was a super scary time for my husband and me,” says Sommer. “But having blood available when we needed it most was very comforting.”

Cam and his family made numerous trips to the hospital for more treatments. Sommer and Mike continued to notice several bags of blood hanging from the IV stands of other sick children.

“It really made me think about how giving blood could be such an incredible help to these little ones going through such tough times,” adds Sommer. “I wanted to start donating blood after witnessing this. I wasn’t sure when I would make that commitment because I am scared of needles and blood—but I knew I wanted to someday.”

Beginning last year, Sommer decided to make good on her promise to donate blood in honor of her son. She was afraid, but gave it a chance because she was so grateful for the donors who saved her son’s life through blood donations.

“Even though I am scared, I get through the process by not looking at the needle or the blood, and then I am just fine! I keep going back—it’s worth a little discomfort in order to give back and help those in need. It makes me happy,” exclaims Sommer.

Michigan Blood thanks the Deering family for their dedication to the mission of saving lives through blood donation, and joins them in their challenge to others to overcome their fear of donating by giving it a chance. What better way to ease someone else’s pain than by facing your fears and donating to help save a life?

Michigan Blood is the sole provider of blood and blood products for more than 60 hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Donations given outside of Michigan Blood do not have direct local impact. Donating blood with Michigan Blood helps save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. There is an urgent need for O-Negative blood donors. Donors with type O-Negative blood, or new donors who do not yet know their blood type, are encouraged to visit their local blood donation center. For additional information on donating blood, and to make an appointment, visit www.miblood.org.

Grand Rapids Donor Center is at 1036 Fuller Ave NE, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, noon to 7 p.m.; Tuesdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to  3:30 p.m.; and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The next blood drive at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church will be Tuesday, April 19, from noon to 7 p.m..

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Resolve to become a lifesaver this year


 

Celebrate National Blood Donor month by becoming a regular blood donor

“This picture shows my sons Ben, Sam, and Jesse from left to right.  Ben and Jesse both needed blood as kids. Even though I was a fairly regular donor, they are both alive, in part, because of blood donations.  That makes giving blood on a regular basis now a no-brainer to me.”—Gregg Franjione, longtime blood donor.

“This picture shows my sons Ben, Sam, and Jesse from left to right.  Ben and Jesse both needed blood as kids. Even though I was a fairly regular donor, they are both alive, in part, because of blood donations.  That makes giving blood on a regular basis now a no-brainer to me.”—Gregg Franjione, longtime blood donor.

From Michigan Blood

Back in 1986 when he first became a blood donor, Gregg Franjione didn’t realize how much impact blood donation would have on his life. Gregg just knew that giving blood was “an easy way to help out others,” but admits he “never thought about the recipients much.”

Gregg and his wife Laurene had three sons over the course of eight years. It was at the birth of their youngest son, Benjamin, they received the frightening diagnosis that baby Ben had Tetralogy of Fallot—a combination of four congenital heart defects. Newborn Ben needed open heart surgery in order to survive, and the multiple blood transfusions Ben received were a key part of his surgery and recovery.

As if one health scare in the family wasn’t enough, the words, “Hodgkin’s Lymphoma” took the family down another frightening path in 2004 with middle son Jesse’s diagnosis. With the loving support of his community, Jesse and his family geared-up for many chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Jesse also needed multiple blood transfusions to keep his blood counts at a safe level, which helped bring him into remission.

Gregg has donated more than 11 gallons of blood over the course of his life, and yet he openly says that there is no amount he could ever donate that would offset what he and his family received through generous donations of both time and blood.

“Today, my wife and I would be the parents of only one child—not three—if it wasn’t for the gift of blood donations from others,” says Gregg.

The Franjione Family has experienced a lot, and now wants to help others. They pay it forward as often as they can. Blood donation is something they advocate for, even if some are medically unable to donate on their own.

January is National Blood Donor Month, and Michigan Blood thanks the Franjione family for their dedication to the mission of saving lives through blood donations. Michigan Blood joins the Franjione family in their challenge to others to become regular blood donors. What better time than now to make a new resolution to donate blood?

Michigan Blood wants to remind the public that they are the sole provider of blood and blood products for the majority of hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Donations that are given outside of Michigan Blood do not stay local or have a direct impact in your local community. Donate blood at Michigan Blood and help save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. For additional information on donating blood, and to make an appointment, visit www.miblood.org.

Mobile blood drives coming up nearby:

2/8 – Rockford Area Donor Site at the Community Cabin, main room, 220 N Monroe St., Rockford, 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm

2/16 – Cedar Springs Area Donor Site at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Gym, 140 S Main St., Cedar Springs, 12:30 pm to 7:00 pm

2/17 – Greenville American Legion Post 101, Community Room, 1320 W Washington St., Greenville, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

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Blood donations fall due to cold weather


Donors needed throughout Michigan to help save lives

 

N-Donate-blood-Kathy-Uzarski-0213Historically low temperatures and heavy snowfall are increasing the need for donors at Michigan Blood, a nonprofit blood bank that provides blood and blood products to more than 40 hospitals throughout Michigan, including those in the West Michigan area.

“On a normal day we receive up to 400 donations throughout the state,” Jim Childress, Vice President of Community Relations at Michigan Blood said while explaining the importance of maintaining donors during rough weather periods. “However, this unprecedented weather has caused our donations to fall sharply. Monday we received only 44 donations across the entire state, and Tuesday we had to close our center in St. Joseph because roads were impassable.”

Blood donors make a lifesaving difference everyday, but since blood is a perishable resource that can only be stored for a short time, the need for donors never ends. This increased need at Michigan Blood is a great opportunity for veteran and first time donors alike to start the New Year off right, or fulfill a New Year’s resolution.

“This is going to have implications for us over the next several weeks,” Childress said. “So even if you are not able to make it out due to the weather, please call and schedule a time to come in and donate this month.”

Anyone interested in donating blood can visit www.miblood.org for more information or contact the local Michigan Blood donation center at 1036 Fuller Ave NE, Grand Rapids 49503.

 

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Be a star


Blood donors head to the movies for free!

 

Lifesaving superheroes aren’t just on the big screen. They are right here in the Grand Rapids community. This holiday, before people head out to see the newest blockbuster movie, Michigan Blood invites them to Be a Star, by donating blood. Everyone who attempts to donate will receive a free movie pass and free popcorn from Celebration! Cinema.

No matter what the season, blood is always needed by patients in hospitals around the state.  In fact, Michigan Blood needs to collect more than 2200 units each and every week. Around the holidays, when people are traditionally traveling, exchanging gifts, or heading to the movies, the number of people donating blood declines. So this year, Michigan Blood and Celebration! Cinema have joined together to make blood donation part of the holiday tradition.

Dates and Times for the Be a Star event vary around the state. To find the location near you, go to miblood.org.  In the Grand Rapids area:

Be A Star

Free movie pass and popcorn for everyone who attempts to donate

Main Donor Center – 1036 Fuller Ave NE

Christmas Eve, Tuesday December 24th 8:00am-3:30pm

Thursday, December 26th 8:00am-7:00pm

New Year’s Eve, Tuesday December 31st

8:00am-3:30pm

New Year’s Day, Wednesday January 1st 8:00am-3:00pm

Thursday, January 2nd 8:00am-7:00pm

Appointments highly encouraged.

Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to give blood every 56 days. Blood donors should bring photo ID (or two forms of non-photo ID). Appointments are highly encouraged and can be made online at www.miblood.org or by calling 1-866-MIBLOOD.

 

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