Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don’t have that problem and neither do blood donors.
Bill Short, veteran, regular blood donor and father of six, often shares his version of this Ronald Reagan quote when he tells others about the importance of blood donation. He never thought he’d see someone’s need for blood firsthand until his 11-year-old daughter, Kim, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia – a rare blood disorder in which the body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough new blood cells.
Kim needed a bone marrow transplant to treat the disorder, but until a viable match could be found, she started receiving blood transfusions to keep her blood cell count up. She would require daily transfusions for two months.
“The blood absolutely helped save her life,” Bill said. “As a parent watching your child rely on the kindness of others, you can feel very helpless. The only thing I could do was continue to donate and to ask others, too, so no one will ever have to go without.”
Finally, her doctors found a match – Kim’s 10-year old brother, John, bravely served as her donor. The transplant was successful, curing Kim’s anemia, and she remains healthy today.
Bill remains grateful to the blood donors who gave selflessly and helped save his daughter’s life. He continues to donate himself and encourages others to donate blood, as well.
“My donations are part of my crusade to help replace what was used to help Kim,” Bill explains. “Before Kim got sick, I always donated when I could. But now I don’t miss my appointments. I move everything else out of the way to make it a priority. It’s that important. I want to be sure that the next time something like this happens that blood will be there for someone else to use.”