About every six weeks, Greg Pedelty gets a phone call from Michigan Blood asking him to donate platelets for a patient in the hospital who has a specific match for his blood. The patient is platelet-dependent and because they have received so many transfusions, they have developed certain antibodies, which means they can only receive platelets from a small number of people, called HLA donors.
by Tom Rademacher, former columnist for the Grand Rapids Press
Joe Engel says he gives blood – 18 gallons to date – because he was talked into it by a former girlfriend he’d met while in college. But the more time you spend with him, one wonders if the reason isn’t just as closely tied to a lesson in grace that he learned during the same period in his life – inside a grimy service station on a cold winter’s night.
Nearly 40 years have passed, but Joe can still see his former boss, John Devine, performing an act of compassion that completely belied the gruff Irishman’s rugged exterior.
A family had limped their car into Devine’s Enco service station – long gone now – on a busy street corner in southeast Grand Rapids.
This year 21-year-old Mariah Sika didn't mind staying indoors on a beautiful late-September day; she was busy saving a life. Four years after joining the National Marrow Donor Program's (NMDP) Be The Match Registry®, the Traverse City, Michigan native was told she was a potential bone marrow match for a woman she has never met.
Kevin Marion, 29 of Rochester, who donated peripheral blood stem cells on November 22, became Michigan Blood's 500th donor. Michigan Blood, as part of the National Marrow Donor Program's Be the Match Registry, recruits potential marrow donors for patients across the country and around the world. Kevin's patient is a 57-year-old man who lives abroad.
Dick Benjamin, 62, from Holland, started donating blood when he was a teenager. In May of 2011, he hit the 35 gallon mark, making Dick one of Michigan Blood's top donors. “I’m not a very talented person, but the Lord gave me this gift,” said Dick. “I once lost someone very near and dear to me and I had extra time with him because of blood donors.”
“I believe that I’m now the second-highest gallon level donor in this region [Great Lakes Bay], the highest being Eldon Hall,” said Tom Baird of Bay City, MI, who recently reached the 30 gallon mark. “I donated my first pint to Michigan Blood on 12/28/1973 and have [been donating regularly] ever since. I have every donor card since the first donation.”