Blood Recipients


The Franjione Family: Blood Transfusions Helped Save Lives

Back in 1986, Midland resident Gregg Franjione didn’t realize how much impact blood donation would have on his life. Gregg just knew that giving blood was “an easy way to help out others,” but admits he “never thought about the recipients much.”  The company he worked for at the time – Dow Chemical – hosted blood drives, so it was a convenient way for Gregg to become a first-time donor.

Many units of blood and a few years later, Gregg and his wife Laurene became parents for the first time in 1991, as their eldest son Sam was born. Two years after Sam arrived, they welcomed second son Jesse, and their youngest son Benjamin rounded out their family tree in 1999.

The joy of giving birth to Benjamin quickly turned to deep concern when he was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, which is a combination of four congenital heart defects. Gregg and Laurene were told that Ben would need open-heart surgery to survive.

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Cindi Rossiter: The 'Need for Blood' Hits Home for Michigan Blood Employee

by Tom Rademacher, Veteran Grand Rapids Press columnist and long-time Michigan Blood donor

Looking for a last-minute gift to give this holiday season?

Cindy Rossiter has the perfect solution for you – a gift where you don’t have to worry about the size or color. A gift where refunds aren’t a factor. A gift that brings more than smiles to the recipient’s face because it’s actually a lifesaver.

It’s blood.

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Libby Marsh: Continual Blood Products Help Save Newborn Daughter's Life

by Tom Rademacher, Veteran Grand Rapids Press columnist and long-time Michigan Blood donor

Their first-born survived just 21 months.

They’d watched him suffer and die. And now, Libby Marsh was giving birth to a second child, a baby girl who also would be challenged with the same disease that claimed the life of her precious Taylor.

A rare and usually fatal condition known as Krabbes Disease was the insidious culprit in both cases, something that affects just one in every 100,000 or so births. A degenerative disorder, it affects the protective coating of the brain and nervous system. Its infant victims often suffer and succumb from a variety of symptoms that can include unexplained crying, extreme irritability, a decline in alertness, developmental disabilities, muscle spasms, loss of body control and frequent vomiting.

And now, Libby’s crystal ball foreshadowed the possibility of all those things occurring a second time.

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Abbi Beach: A Mother's Bittersweet Tears of Life Lost, But Lives Saved

by Tom Rademacher, Veteran Grand Rapids Press columnist and long-time Michigan Blood donor

Time and grace and medical know-how all played major roles. But Michigan Blood also shares a special place in the transformation of Abigail Beach from a mother shedding tears of grief to one who now knows tears of joy.

“What do you say about an organization that essentially saved your life?” says Abbi, who likely would have died alongside her stillborn baby girl if it hadn’t been for nearly a dozen transfusions of blood and more than a half-dozen other blood products back in 2010.

That’s the year Abbi, 27, and her husband Lee, 37, endured a journey they never saw coming.

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Caitlyn Jackson: Leaving A Legacy of Courage & Perseverence

by Tom Rademacher, Veteran Grand Rapids Press columnist and long-time Michigan Blood donor

Melinda Jackson remembers those numbers as though it were yesterday. It’s the blood pressure count that the machine blinked out to her and other members of her family as their beloved “Caity Bug” fought for her life during a time when she should have been enjoying all the bittersweet gifts that accompany becoming a teen-ager.

Caitlyn Jackson died seven months before what would have been her 13th birthday, but during the time she struggled to survive, she taught us all what it is to persevere with courage and dignity.

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