When Angie Heyboer was a kid her father would come home occasionally wearing an “I Donated” sicker, which he would always put on her nose or forehead as he walked through the door. It took her several years to figure out what he was donating, but it wasn’t until her own son needed blood that she realized how important those donations were.
For Cheryl and Steve Tomasko and their young daughter Maddie, the call they received on April 7th, 2011 while driving to Kentucky will never be forgotten. The Tomaskos were told Maddie had leukemia and needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately. The Michigan family turned around, drove straight to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, and Maddie began multiple 3 hour sessions of chemotherapy.
Former Cherry Festival Queen Cindy Weber tells her story about how blood donors helped save her life after a hemorrhage from a routine surgery sent her back to the hospital.
Within the first 24 hours of Cole’s life, he received enough blood to replace all the blood in his body. This drastic measure was necessary to deal with extreme Rh incompatibility: although Cole’s mom Kerrissa has Rh-negative blood, he has Rh-positive blood, and the RhoGAM shots typically used during pregnancy for Rh-negative mothers were ineffective for Kerrissa. Antibodies that Kerrissa developed were transferred to Cole in the womb and caused his red blood cells to break down, making him extremely jaundiced.
Smiling playfully for the camera, Nyla VanderLaan is the picture of health. But six years ago, the day after her birth, Nyla was dangerously close to death. Donated blood saved her life.