Affecting Change with Social Responsibility

Sponsored by Vitalant. 

You’ve likely heard it before, through research studies, media coverage, marketing analysts and other sources. Among the generational demographics, Millennials are affecting change with social responsibility. As Millennials, we may experience this notion ourselves and are told by society that we have altruism running through our blood.

Speaking of blood, did you know that every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs it? That’s quite an awe-inspiring reality to think about. Blood helps trauma and burn patients, premature infants, heart surgery patients, organ transplant recipients and those fighting cancer, among many others.

Many of us want to give to help others, but as busy young professionals starting our careers or perhaps our families, we can easily become strapped for cash, time or resources. But, we already have something within us, literally, that we can truly give to change lives, up to three to be exact. Something free of cost, with only the minor sacrifice of about 45 minutes and what feels like a slight pinch. It is blood, and patients need it across our region and beyond while hoping each day that blood donors will step up to provide it.

Through a Mother’s Eyes

Seven-year-old Bobby perfectly illustrates the reality that blood donors truly do save lives. As new and inexperienced parents, Alexandra and Mike lovingly called infant Bobby their “blueberry” baby, blissfully unaware they were seeing the manifestations of a serious blood clotting malfunction. It took more than a year to confirm Bobby’s diagnosis of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, a rare, primary immunodeficiency disease with abnormal bleeding. Every day, Bobby needed numerous blood transfusions of all types – red cells, plasma and platelets. Bobby was near death at many times during his ordeal. Today, thanks to blood donors he is a healthy, energetic sports fan in the midst of second grade.

On a Mission to Help

Three months before high school graduation in 2009, Steven knew something was wrong. He was getting sick often – one week the flu, next week a fever or fatigue. He was working two jobs five days a week and feeling tired all the time. Three days after a required blood test and physical because of his senior thesis – running a basketball camp – Steven was in a San Francisco hospital undergoing chemotherapy. Leukemia robbed him of attending his high school graduation.
Before Steven’s fourth round of chemotherapy, Steven received the devastating news that leukemia was still running rampant in his bloodstream despite the grueling treatment he had already endured. However, the doctors also told him he had a perfect match from the national marrow registry. “The world just stopped for me and my family,” remembers Steven. “We were so happy.”

Steven received his transplant that fall and returned home to prepare for college. He chose nursing as a potential major because of the great care he had received. Volunteering at Vitalant became a regular habit as Steven returned to health. Having received so much blood and a marrow transplant from a generous stranger fueled his mission to give back.
As Steven got ready to celebrate two years since his transplant, he had a nagging feeling that something might be wrong. His instincts were confirmed when doctors gave him the devastating news that leukemia had returned; Steven would need another marrow transplant. On the heels of that despairing news came hope that another marrow match was located and willing to donate! Steven received a third chance at life with another marrow transplant. His nickname, “Ironman” was apt and true as he fought months on end for his life.

Years later, Steven is back to relatively good health today. He continues to volunteer at college blood drives, educating and encouraging others to give. His mission to help others continues.

An Ongoing Need

The Sacramento region has shown up in large numbers to donate blood and support those affected following recent tragedies like the mass shootings in Thousand Oaks and Las Vegas, and the Camp Fire in Butte County, along with past emergencies such as the events of September 11, 2001. We are so thankful for this amazing show of support. However, each day patients and their loved ones are going through their own tragedies. Since it takes 24 to 36 hours to collect, test and distribute blood donations to hospitals, there is an ongoing need for blood. It is the blood already available on the shelves that is used for immediate needs.
As you consider giving, remember these stories of Bobby and Steven as examples of the millions of patients who have received second chances and much more time with their loved ones simply because of the amazing generosity of blood donors.

Drinks on us! Did you know you can save up to three lives AND as a thank you, earn a free beverage at the upcoming Metro EDGE Holiday Mixer?

Give blood Nov 27 – Dec.10 at any Vitalant location (formerly BloodSource) and bring your donation receipt in during the mixer to redeem your free drink. Or, post a selfie on social media from any Vitalant location using #EDGErsAreVital to earn your drink (make sure your post is public)! Plus, while registering to donate, make sure to mention you are supporting the Metro EDGE donor club. We’ll certainly cheers to your life-changing donation!