Giving Blood Saves Lives – It Certainly Saved Mine

By Kathryn Berthiaume, LMHC, Team Coordinator for CHD’s Appleton Street Location

Twenty years ago, I was getting ready to graduate from high school.  I was preparing for my speech, thinking about a future that was so inconceivable to me.  What was I going to say to my peers, my parents, friends in the community?

I wasn’t going to college like I had always planned.  I wasn’t going to any graduation parties.  I was going to the hospital for biopsies, tests, and chemotherapy.  I had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer, just a few weeks before graduation.  I was still in disbelief about what that meant for my life, my future, and my family.

Somehow I persevered through high school graduation in a haze and started treatment.  I was hospitalized every three to four weeks for a week at a time in the adolescent wing at Baystate Medical Center where I received my chemotherapy.  I left the hospital after each treatment extremely lethargic, weak, and barely able to eat.  It was in between treatments where I faced the highest risk. My “counts” were monitored very closely and oftentimes my white blood and red blood cell counts were dangerously low.  At that point, I would return to the oncologist’s office and receive both red blood and platelet transfusions.  I know that without those transfusions I would not be here today.

This is why I now coordinate a blood drive each year with the Red Cross.  I must give back and show my appreciation to those who give so selflessly to others.  I am so happy and proud to be a survivor, a real live example where I can show people that giving blood does save lives.

Now, twenty years later, I have so much to celebrate: my life, good health, my career, and the anticipation of my second child (coming in November!)

CHD is hosting a Blood Drive on July 28th at our 332 Birnie Avenue location in Springfield. If you can help, please call Kathryn  at (413) 420-2365 or Click here to make an appointment  (Type “CHD” in the search field)

 

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