« Kenneth Anderson »

As a long time blood recipient, Kenneth Anderson understood the importance of blood donation and always appreciated the life-extending gifts he received from blood donors.

Thanks to the generosity of blood donors, transfusions helped Kenneth endure chronic gastrointestinal bleeding and added quality years to his life before his passing on Dec. 28, 2013.

“We could see the day after a transfusion he would blossom like a flower,” said Julie Anderson, Kenneth’s daughter, when describing the benefits Kenneth received from transfusions.

In total, Kenneth received 15 gallons of blood from 2010 to 2013, spread across 60 two-pint transfusions.

“It was always emotional, and I know he was sometimes discouraged about needing so many transfusions,” explained Mary Tett, Kenneth’s daughter. “It was an emotional roller coaster, but he never gave up.”

As his illness progressed Kenneth’s hard-working background shined through. He was stoic and resolute in his defiance to give in to his condition and never complained.

He held his doctors and other medical staff in high regard including those at Mecosta County Medical Center, Mecosta County Home Health Care, Hospice of Michigan and especially Dr. Scott Vanderhill and Dr. Rafat Rizk of the University of Michigan.

Both Julie and Mary have become active blood donors not only to honor their father but because they now realize how important blood donation is to so many families. Each has already reached the gallon mark and Julie is now over two gallons donated.

“Once you start donating, you don’t feel right if you don’t continue,” Mary said. “You really start to think about the greater good.”

“It’s such a good feeling to know we can be giving back and sustaining another life,” Julie added.

Upon Kenneth’s passing his family requested that friends and family donate to Michigan Blood or Hospice of Michigan in his memory. Each organization was chosen because of the support they provided during Kenneth’s later years.

“We didn’t specifically ask people to donate blood, but I hope someone has donated blood because of him,” Mary said.

Sisters Julie Anderson (left) and Mary Tett (right), present Michigan Blood VP of Community Relations Jim Childress with a memorial donation in honor of their father.Julie and Mary presented Michigan Blood with a memorial donation in February at the Grand Rapids Donor Center to close the circle on their father’s memorial and both said they plan to continue giving blood as long as they can.

“I know Dad would say how thankful he was because he had the opportunity to have those extra quality years,” Mary said, when asked what her father would have said to the many blood donors who helped him through the years.

“His life depended on those transfusions and we’re so grateful he had the chance to receive transfusions so freely because of blood donors,” Julie said.