Patient Meets Her Blood Donors
Teresa Locke Benson had a rare condition called paraoxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). There is no cure for this condition except a bone marrow transplant. Initially, Teresa was reluctant to undergo the transplant as the prospects of finding a perfect match were dim, and the side effects from a less-than-perfect match were daunting. For six years Teresa was dependent on blood and platelet transfusions. Even so, she was able to lead a fairly normal life.
This is how Teresa described her feelings during this time: "There was a time of desperation when I thought maybe I could heal myself, but I wasn't familiar with meditation. One of my dearest friends suggested I focus on the rhythmic drops of blood going into my veins. I would watch it, drip-drip, and visualize it healing me and giving me energy. I realize blood is possibly distasteful to some people, but to me it is beautiful. It is the essence of energy and vital to any experience. I never took it for granted but always wondered every time I went into CHOMP-who in this community had given me this amazing gift? I've always been incredibly grateful to the anonymous donor."
As time went on, Teresa's condition worsened and she finally decided to undergo a bone marrow transplant. However, waiting those six years did make a difference. Not only had the matching technology greatly improved over that time, the transfusions allowed Teresa to keep active so that her heart and lungs were strong. All Teresa's blood donors kept her alive and functioning until she was able to find a good bone marrow match. Today, she is over two years post-transplant and doing very well.
Through Teresa, the Blood Center had a unique opportunity to demonstrate that blood donations truly do save lives. Teresa wanted to meet and thank her blood donors. Letters were sent to Teresa's 147 local donors and the response was overwhelming. Over 40 donors attended the event and met Teresa. It was moving and inspiring to hear Teresa tell her story to them and to know that the room was filled with her "lifesavers." *
As Teresa told her donors that day in December, 2007, " ‘Thank you' are the right words but my feelings about my profound ability to live again go far beyond them."
Giving blood is truly saving lives.
*The story of this eventful meeting was on the Herald's front page on Monday, December 17, 2007.
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