Blood drive to honor birthday
It took 80 pints of blood to help keep Tracy Simmons alive. This past December, Simmons expected a normal, uncomplicated delivery. However, she experienced what her doctors believe to be an amniotic fluid embolism, an extremely rare and often fatal complication of childbirth. This necessitated an emergency C-section, during which Simmons also experienced Disseminated Intravascular Coagulopathy, preventing her blood from clotting.
Now that she and her baby girl are on the other side of that harrowing event, Simmons is preparing to celebrate her birthday in a way that is quite literally, close to her heart, by hosting a blood drive at Nevada Regional Medical Center.
“I'm guessing there are lots of people out there who are like me and want to help others, but giving blood isn't even on their radar,” Simmons said. “I recently learned that blood cannot be manufactured; it must be shared. I would love to have 80 people give at this drive - one for every unit I received. More than that, I hope this will only be the first time of many for some of those people.”
80 pints of blood for one person is a staggering number, considering that the average adult human body only holds about 8 pints. One can also marvel at the ability of local blood banks to have that much blood on hand at any one time, since blood has a shelf-life of only 42 days.
If there is one essential component to keeping the blood supply at a level capable of meeting the demand, it is regular blood donation by many donors. Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (CBCO) depends upon an average of 200 blood donations each day to meet the needs of the area it serves, which includes Nevada and Joplin.
“Many times over the past seven months I have wondered about the people who had donated blood ahead of my need,” Simmons said. “I wish I could meet them and say thank you in person. I am proof that donating blood is giving the gift of life.
“For medical reasons, I am unable to donate, but when I asked friends, family, and church members to consider a contribution to this drive, I was thrilled and humbled to hear many of them say yes.”
CBCO will be collecting blood donations on Wednesday, August 8 at NRMC in the Mezzanine conference room at 800 south Ash Street in Nevada. Appointments are encouraged and can be made online at www.cbco.org or by calling the NRMC Community Relations office at (417) 448-3801.
Established in 1995, CBCO’s mission reads, “To provide a quality blood supply, in a timely manner, at the lowest reasonable fee, while remaining accountable to the local community, blood donors and health care providers.” CBCO donors are the sole providers of blood and blood products to patients at 41 area hospitals, including NRMC.
“Stories like Tracy’s play out across our region every single day,” said Chris Pilgrim, Media Relations Representative with CBCO. “Blood and the availability of it just aren’t things you think about on a daily basis… until you need it. Then it’s the most important thing in the world. We have thousands of dedicated donors in our region, but we always need more. If you’ve never experienced the lifesaving feeling of giving of yourself to help others, my only request is that you try it once. I’m betting that you want to experience that feeling again and again.”
# # #
About Nevada Regional Medical Center
Serving a six-county area since 1937, Nevada Regional Medical Center is a 71-bed acute, intensive and skilled care hospital. Nevada Regional Medical Center has earned recognition as a respected regional medical center for its comprehensive health care services, skilled and caring employees and state-of-the-art medical technology. Staff represent more than a dozen medical specialties, including family practice, women’s services, neurology, urology, psychiatry, orthopedics, wound care services, and general, vascular, thoracic and oncological surgery. Additionally, consultation clinics are held regularly by specialists in oncology, pulmonology, podiatry, ear, nose, and throat and cardiology.