The Verdict Is In: ‘Michigan Blood Saves Lives, Including Mine’
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 3:32PM
Laurie Brady - Webmaster

Retired Judge Faye Harrison Weighs in on Her Experience from Blood Donor to Recipient


While giving blood for the first time as a freshman at Michigan State University, Faye Harrison was approached by an ROTC commanding officer who wanted to thank her and other donors. “If it weren’t for people like you,” the officer said, “I would have died on the battlefield.”

The officer’s presence put a real face to the need. The experience would inspire her to become a loyal blood donor and advocate over the next 50 years.

Just like Michigan Blood, Retired Judge Faye Harrison is committed to the great state of Michigan. She was born in Marquette, grew up in Saginaw, and attended both Michigan State University for undergrad and the University of Michigan for law school. For 33 years she served as a juvenile and family court judge in Saginaw County until retiring in 2014.

It was during her service in Saginaw County that Judge Harrison would experience what it felt like to be on the other side of the blood bag.

After collapsing at work, Judge Harrison was rushed to the hospital. She had been experiencing undetected bleeding caused by an ulcerated stomach.

“It’s hard to describe waking up in the Intensive Care Unit, momentarily panicking, turning your head to see the blood being transfused into your arm,” she explains. “But then I realized I was already getting stronger. I knew from that moment that I was going to be alright.”

Multiple blood transfusions had helped save her life.

Only a year later, Judge Harrison inadvertently took medicine that caused her ulcer to begin bleeding again. She was rushed to the emergency room after fainting, and received a second round of blood transfusions.

“That time I was able to return to work the next day thanks to the blood I received and the able ER physicians,” she says. “All of my treatments were at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, and my gift of life came from Michigan Blood.”

Retired Judge Harrison explains how blood donation also prolonged her dear mother’s life. Her mom was being treated in the hospital for congestive heart failure and diabetes. The blood her mom received helped to quicken her recovery, and also increased her strength to make it to Thanksgiving that year. She passed away a few weeks later.

“Mom radiated happiness at that last family holiday celebration; the memories are bittersweet but also priceless,” she adds.

Blood donation has since come full circle for Retired Judge Harrison.

She’s been a longtime blood donor and donation advocate. She’s experienced the gift of having blood available for a loved one who desperately needed it, and her own life was saved more than once through that same gift. All of these experiences have led her to become a loyal volunteer at Michigan Blood.

Retired Judge Harrison says that she gets more from volunteering than she gives. Through meeting donors all over the state, she hears numerous stories of how blood donation has directly impacted their lives. She delights in sharing her story, too.

For Retired Judge Harrison, the verdict is in for those who donate blood:

“As a person whose life was saved by your generosity and as a person who got to spend one more holiday with a loved parent because you gave – everything you go through to donate is worth it,” she says.

“You are giving a precious and irreplaceable gift.”

 

Article originally appeared on Michigan Blood (http://www.miblood.org/).
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