Retired Judge Faye Harrison Weighs in on Her Experience from Blood Donor to Recipient
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (April 1, 2016) – 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.”
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.
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.”
Michigan Blood thanks Retired Judge Harrison for her dedication to the mission of saving lives through blood donation, and joins her in challenging others to spread the word about the never-ending need for blood.
Michigan Blood is the sole provider of blood and blood products for more than 60 hospitals in Michigan, including Spectrum Health, Metro Health, and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. Donations given outside of Michigan Blood do not have direct local impact. Donating blood with Michigan Blood helps save the lives of patients in Michigan hospitals. Any healthy person 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) who weighs at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate. Blood donors should bring photo ID. We are currently in urgent need of O-Negative blood donations. Due to school spring breaks, typical Michigan weather swings and other factors, we are experiencing lower than expected blood collections, and we are striving to maintain a safe level of inventory. For additional information on donating blood, and to make an appointment, visit www.miblood.org.
About Michigan Blood
Founded in 1955, Michigan Blood is a fast growing, independent, non-profit blood bank headquartered in Grand Rapids. It provides blood products and services for more than 60 hospitals throughout Michigan and is an established leader in quality and service. Michigan Blood collects more than 125,000 units of blood each year at nine permanent donation sites and more than 3,600 mobile blood drives in 40 counties statewide. Michigan Blood has a nationally recognized stem cell (marrow) program and created Michigan’s first public cord blood bank. In addition, Michigan Blood provides therapeutic apheresis, cellular therapies for the treatment of cancer and transfusion medicine consultations. For more information, visit www.miblood.org.