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Stories

Kristen Fallon

I wanted to participate in the Blood Drive my company hosts because I felt such a simple act would have a positive impact on someone else’s life. I saw my donation come full circle only five days later when my grandmother needed a blood transfusion. She and I actually share the same blood type. Her experience made me realize that by only setting aside a few minutes out of your day, you can truly save someone’s life. It was quick, easy and painless. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Steven

I was born 2 months prematurely with a twin and the only way we lived through the experience is from the efforts the community and my family put in donating blood to save our lives that’s why I donate as much as possible.

Stacy White

My oldest brother Earl was in a motorcycle accident a few years ago on his was to work. The other man failed to stop at a stop sign early in the morning of his accident. He hit my brother so hard that it severed his leg off just about 3 inches about his ankle. Paramedics have told him they almost lost him at the scene of the accident. He has lost 3/4 of his blood volume at the scene. He was quickly taken to the hospital and had been given several pints of blood over his 3 week stay in the hospital. He has a total of 13 in a 3 week period most of which required him receiving blood products. If it weren’t for people donating blood or blood products I wouldn’t have my brother today. I was always afraid to donate I don’t have very good veins and get stuck several time just for when the doctors order blood work. But since my brothers accident I have over come that fear and been donating. Thank you all and God Bless each and every one of you. Here is a picture of us Last year.

Lynn LaBar

Many Years ago my grandmother was sick and needed Platelets. My sister, a nurse told our family to come to terms that Gramma (as we called her) was not going to make it, because at that time platelets were very hard to find. If you could find them, chances are we would never be able to afford them and insurance at that time did not cover them. Later that day, my husband came to the hospital. We updated him on Gramma’s condition–He looked at us and said, “no she can get the platelets she needs”. I’m a blood donor at Miller Keystone Blood Center and she is one of the six people I designated to get blood . If it were not for my husband, Gramma would have died that day. However, it is different now because of the many wonderful donors, anyone who needs blood gets it. You don’t need to be on a designated list. A person no longer has to replace blood should they need it and no person has to worry about finding it.

Logan Snyder

“My son Logan was diagnosed with a rare Stage 4 pediatric cancer at only 15 months old.  Until our own personal experience, we were oblivious to cancer, chemo, radiation and all that that went along with keeping him alive.  One thing that DID keep him alive through our whole journey was all the donated blood products Logan so desperately needed.  He needed blood so many times that I actually lost count.  But what I never lost count of was the gratitude and relief I felt knowing it was there.  It would pump his little body back up so he could continue to fight this nasty beast.  It gave his body energy and the strength to keep going.  Without those precious bags of blood and platelets, Logan would have certainly died.  Now, because of all those generous donors and our team of doctors, Logan is a healthy and happy 6 year old little boy.  I cannot Thank people enough to take that time out to donate which literally saves lives, including my son.”

Ashleigh Snyder

laura

My daughter is a 12 year childhood leukemia survivor. If not for volumes of platelets and red cells donated by caring people in our community…she would not have survived and thrived. She will next be spending her junior year of college in Japan pursuant to her dreams. In her honor and for those who are still fighting for life I will continue to donate platelets and red cells….and also in honor of the many tiny nicu babies for whom I have cared whose parents are also eternally grateful.

Emilie Joly

I donate blood in honor of my mother, Maureen Joly. My mom was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma, a very rare and aggressive cancer, right after a routine hysterectomy procedure to remove “fibroids.”  These fibroids were, in fact, malignant tumors that had grown to the size of a cantaloupe in her uterus and abdomen. During her hysterectomy procedure turned tumor removal, she needed several blood transfusions and came out of the surgery several hours later.  She healed relatively quickly and we nursed her back to health for a month before she started chemotherapy.  Throughout her chemo treatment, she received regular blood transfusions to keep her while blood cell count up and to help her feel better overall.  My mom lost her battle at age 57, just three months after she was diagnosed.  I cannot express how vital it was for her to be able to receive transfusions throughout her battle.  She was the most loving, charismatic, person I will ever know and I will continue to honor her with frequent blood donations to help others going through similar struggles.

John Murray

I’ve been a blood drive coordinator for several years, but it wasn’t until this past year that I realized how important donating is. My 6-year-old granddaughter was diagnosed with stage one RMS (or rhabdomyosarcoma) cancer in November. She had to undergo six months of weekly chemo treatments and one month of daily radiation treatments. We were told about the possibility of her needing blood if her numbers dropped. During her treatment she needed two units, and her energy and her color changed within minutes. I would like to thank and encourage everyone to donate — it does make a difference, you are saving a life. My granddaughter, Bella, is doing well — she is cancer free. Thank you to all who donate!

Carl Reidler

I have donated blood & platelets since the early 1980’s. It was called by Reading Hospital back then ( Before Keystone) and told a Leukemia patient and I were a match AB pos, and was asked if I could come down ASAP to help out, and I did. Never met the young lady, and never knew how she made out. several years later, I was working with a co-worker, and he was telling me about his sister who had Leukemia, and that through the efforts of others, she was able to stay alive for about one year longer. After talking further, I found out, I was one of those that helped in her time of need back then. Ever since then, I have been donating as regular as possible. Today, I am closing in on 20 gallons. I encourage as many as possible to donate. After all ” A life is worth more than a little time”

Diana Lupold

In 2007, my 39-year-old husband Gene was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. We first learned the diagnosis when he became sick very suddenly and almost died in the emergency room. During his treatment period, he received multiple blood transfusions, and that was the first time I became aware of the need that cancer patients had for blood products. In time, his myeloma went into remission. A few years later, during a routine check-up with his oncologist, his blood tests indicated that he was once again very ill. The doctor was unable to give us a diagnosis right away; he was puzzled because he was certain the myeloma had not returned. Further tests and bone marrow biopsies would be necessary, and meanwhile, it was stressed that Gene could not even leave the doctor’s office that day before receiving an infusion of platelets. We were shocked, because my husband had shown no outward indication of any illness. He was directed not to return to work, because his platelet count was so low that, being a construction worker, he was most definitely a walking bleeding risk. During the next 28 days, while tests were being conducted to determine what was wrong, we became regular visitors of the infusion room of our local hospital. Gene started bruising quite a bit, nosebleeds became common, and he was severely anemic. In spite of Gene’s experience with multiple myeloma a few years before, we were amazed at how much his life depended upon the regular receipt of blood products. A minimum of three visits per week was necessary to keep his red blood cell and platelet counts up and to keep his energy at a level where he could enjoy this time with our kids. Finally, a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia was made, and what followed was 2 ½ months of hospitalization and an aggressive chemotherapy regimen. Almost daily blood transfusions were the norm, and Gene and I were very moved by how vital these blood products were to his survival. Gene stayed alive those last few months because angels in street-clothes took time out of their lives to sit in a chair and give a part of themselves to a stranger that they would never meet. I donate in honor of my angel in heaven, and in honor of those angels here on earth.

Christopher Lillis

I donate, or at least try to donate, every 8 weeks. I feel if you are healthy enough to donate and can help save a life you should. My mom passed away from complications from leukemia a few years ago and could not find a suitable donor in time. I don’t consider myself a hero. Just doing what I can to help those in need of blood or platelets. Everyone healthy enough should do the same.

Andrew G. Young

Last Saturday, 2/15/2014, I donated a pint in your van, parked in Vera Cruz near Emmaus. It was there that I encountered the most professional team…The A- Team!!!!   Loretta & Kris were the “dynamic duo” who ran the van, and they were AWESOME!!!! My background includes having spent 4 years in the Marine Corps…with a year in Vietnam. This information triggered a response from Kris, who also spent time in the Army!!!! (I think she enjoyed sticking me with the needle, but she did it so well, that I never even felt it!!!!)   These two women surely made my day, and left a lasting impression…they warmed my heart on a cold winter day…and I do believe they need to be commended for their dedication to their work…God Bless the A-Team!!!!

Justine Szot

I lost my husband, Michael, on August 1, 2013 after a valiant, 16-month battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). During his treatment he underwent multiple transfusions, receiving more than 40 units of red cells and 35 units of platelets. I am sincerely grateful to Miller-Keystone Blood Center for the vital service they provide to our community, and I cannot thank blood donors and platelet donors enough for your generosity in helping to sustain Michael’s life during the course of his care.

Marilyn Wright

I have been donating since I was about 23 when I donated at blood drives at Mack Trucks.  When I was in the hospital with pancreatitis in 1980, I needed 9 units to save my life. The doctors didn’t think I would live! I started donating again to pay it forward.  I hope to be healthy enough to donate for many more years.

Mary Raymond

I have been a regular, every-8-week blood donor for many years now. Recently, some medical complications required that I have a hysterectomy. During my pre-op appointment, the doctor came in and told me that the results of my latest CBC suggested my hemoglobin was falling rather rapidly, and had reached a 7.0. I felt fine — or at least I thought I did! They immediately transported me to the ER, where I received two (2) units of blood. After my transfusion, I felt like I had been a pool toy that was deflated and was now inflated. After years of donating blood every eight weeks, it was I who finally needed a life-saving transfusion. I encourage people to donate blood by telling them, ‘Donate blood! The life you save may be your own!

Jeff Warren & Family

My wife delivered twin girls in March 2011, and after 6 weeks it became apparent that one of the twins, Abbigail, was having a medical issue. She was diagnosed with a condition called Hirshsprung’s Disease. Surgeries were needed to correct this digestive condition, and during the final procedure she would need a blood transfusion. For many years I had donated blood regularly at Miller-Keystone Blood Center and knew they could extract my blood so it could then be given to Abbigail for her transfusion. Testing and compatibility measures were quickly undertaken. We were overjoyed at the news that mine and Abbigail’s blood were medically compatible and that my blood would in fact be used for her blood transfusion. I will never forget the feeling of seeing my 6 week old daughter come out of surgery knowing that my blood donation was running through her tiny body. It was an overpowering and intense feeling. My wife and I dealt with a team of dedicated professionals at Miller-Keystone Blood Center, who in the end contributed to the lifesaving measures that have allowed Abbigail to grow into a vibrant and energetic 15 month old. We are so grateful to the workers and staff of the Miller-Keystone Blood Center. We thank them for all they do and the help they continue to give families and medical patients who, no matter what age, are in need of blood.

Meredith Diane Chepolis

My husband and I donate regularly because three and a half years ago, our son was born over three months premature and one of his biggest needs was blood. The blood that people donated helped save his life; this is our way to pay it forward. We appreciate other people’s donations that help our son. It’s easy, painless and it doesn’t take a lot of time to help save someone’s life.

Jenna DuVal

My name is Jenna DuVal, I am 27 years old, I had blood clots from a birth control pill and was in the hospital for 2 weeks. During that time I had to have blood transfusions in which the blood came from Miller-Keystone blood drives. I almost lost my life it if was not for the blood that I received. Indeed I was scared that I would never see my family or my son again, but because of the blood that someone donated, my life was saved. So I want to let anyone know reading this that I am still alive and walking around because every time that you donate blood, you have saved someone’s life. Please go donate when you can and you will see that someone’s life was saved because of your donation. I am still in need of many surgeries, and can never give blood again, but please donate. Someone out there saved my life.

The Mauger Family

Channing Mauger was supposed to be the valedictorian of his class. He was enrolled in AP courses at school, he was a cross country runner, he biked to and from school every day, he worked part-time at the local Weis Market. By all accounts, he was simply a great kid. On February 6, 2013, he came home from school and told his mom, “the kids say I’m yellow.” In the midst of the winter months, under artificial light within their home, Channing’s parents didn’t notice. But his skin and eyes were indeed yellow. The next day, he went for blood work and two days later, he was in the hospital. Through multiple tests, biopsies and surgeries, Channing was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare disease in which the bone marrow stops producing much-needed platelets and red cells for a healthy immune system. In the weeks that followed, Channing’s parents watched him grow weaker and weaker as his organs shut down, one by one. Since his admission to the hospital, Channing had received blood and platelets from at least 100 donors. And during those weeks, Channing’s mother, Kendra, decided she needed to do something about increasing awareness about the need for blood and platelet donations. In seven weeks, Channing was gone. Over 300 donors have given blood in his honor, and more blood drives are planned. And Channing’s parents will be right there, thanking people for sharing the “gift of life.”

Joan Hendershot

I can remember like it was yesterday on May 11, 2012 when the doctor told me I had breast cancer the feeling was indescribable. I did not know what I had in store for me during these last few months of chemotherapy. Sitting in my chair with other cancer patients, I saw the uplifting difference our blood products made on them from the time they sat down until the time they left. They were so full of life after their transfusions, that it made me so proud to work for Miller-Keystone Blood Center, seeing our blood products hang from the I.V. pole. I saw first-hand how many people in our community rely on our blood products and what a difference it made in their lives. Miller-Keystone Blood Center donors are saving lives in our community every day, seeing the life altering experience with my own eyes was truly life changing.

Kristin Kranzley Parks

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, went through chemo, surgery and radiation, and there was no evidence of the disease by early 2011. I really thought I was “in the clear”. In March of 2012, when my husband and I were on vacation in the Dominican Republic, I became short of breath and my heart was racing. It only got worse as days passed, and by my 3rd day down there I could barely walk 20 feet without needing to sit and rest. We went to the doctor at the resort, who sent us by ambulance to the local hospital in Punta Cana. Blood work showed my white blood cell count was extremely high, and my hemoglobin, hematocrit and platelets were dangerously low. I needed blood and platelet transfusion before I could even get on a plane to come home. That process took three days, several phone calls two and from the U.S. Embassy and a 3-1/2-hr ambulance ride to Santo Domingo. There is no Miller-Keystone Blood Center in the Dominican Republic and quite honestly, had the Embassy not intervened, I’m not sure I would have even made it off that island. Upon returning home and checking into the hospital, a bone marrow biopsy confirmed our worst fears – I had acute myeloid leukemia, which I contracted as a result of the life-saving chemo treatments I had for breast cancer two years earlier. Over the next several months, I had several rounds of dose-dense chemo that was successful in putting the leukemia into remission, but also left me needing many, many packed red cell and platelet transfusions. I never had to worry whether or not I was going to get my blood or platelets. After spending many scary days in the hospital in the D.R., you can’t even imagine what a blessing and a relief it was to know Miller-Keystone was there for me. I am alive and well today due in no small part to the Miller – Keystone Blood Center and its donors. You truly are saving lives every time you donate!

Joanne Loeper

I donate every 56 days along with donating platelets every two weeks, to me this is personal. My son lost his battle to leukemia when he was only 30-years-old. Seeing the amount of blood and platelets he was going through every day was something I could never forget. The time element is nothing compared to how much blood and platelets are needed in saving lives every day. There is such a big gift in donating and I am always encouraging others to donate.

AimeeMarie Rush & Family

August 6, 2011 changed my life forever. I had a beautiful baby boy delivered by emergency C-Section. My son is wonderful and healthy at 10 months old today. I suffered massive uncontrolled bleeding after he was born and was dying. The donations made by the selfless community saved my life. I required a copious amount of all blood products supplied by Miller-Keystone. If it was not for the donations I would not be here today to watch my two wonderful children grow up. Thank you isn’t enough. I wish I could thank every individual personally. Thank you so much.

The Lukow Family

Jeff Lukow visits MKBC to donate blood 6 times per year. To date, he has donated nearly 13 gallons of this life-saving resource, although he rarely pays attention to the numbers. He doesn’t have a personal story tied to the need for blood. He has never received a blood transfusion. Nor has he had a family member or friend impacted by the need for blood. He simply does it because it is needed. Jeff’s pride does not come from how many gallons he has personally donated, but rather that blood donation has become a rite of passage in his family. His children – Amanda, Jonathan, Samantha, James, Brandon and Leslie – counted the days until their 17th birthdays, so that they could join their father on his next visit to the Blood Center. Jeff’s example to his family has encouraged them to contribute to the community by becoming blood donors at an early age, instilling in them the habit and commitment of becoming a life-long blood donor.

Gavin Owens

Gavin was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease at the age of two. Because of his illness, Gavin experienced multi-organ failure, including bone marrow failure. His body did not make the blood he needed to survive. Gavin also experienced frequent bouts of sepsis, also causing his blood count to plummet even further. Gavin received on average, weekly red blood cell transfusions, as well as other blood products. Gavin’s life depending on the selfless act of blood donation. Sadly, Gavin passed away on November 8, 2009. Because of blood donations, we were able to have an amazing 3 1/2 years with our little boy!

The Sobjak / Buckley Family

Colton is an amazing four-year old who was recently diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia. This came as a complete shock to our family. He loves baseball, Tom and Jerry, Spongebob and he always knows what the temperature is outside! As part of his treatment, Colton has received red cell and platelet transfusions. As a family, we’d like to thank all of you for the love, prayers and support that have been given in this hard time.

The Okoniewski Family

Big things come in small packages, like Caroline. Born on January 30, 2008, 16-weeks premature and weighing just 1 lb, 5 oz. Thanks to blood donations, state-of-the-art technology and prayers, Caroline has a fighting chance. In the first 3 weeks of her life, she received 5 life-saving transfusions. Caroline’s parents acknowledge the hurdles she must face, but given the opportunity, this tiny champion is ready to fight for her life!

Bob, Liz, Melissa, Jessica and Robby Koczot

May 19, 2007 was any parents’ worst nightmare… our 12-year-old daughter Jessica suffered a life-threatening hemorrhage. She was rushed to the ER with severe bleeding, and her hemoglobin reached a dangerous low of 6, requiring a blood transfusion immediately. I tried so hard to stay under control, praying the doctors would not ask me to leave her side as she asked ‘Mommy, am I going to be ok?’ The blood transfusions began, but the bleeding didn’t stop. Saturday, the nightmare continued, as more red blood cells were transfused, but the hemorrhaging would not stop. On Sunday, a dear friend delivered the message at all three services to our Church family at Glad Tidings: ‘We need your prayers, we need a miracle.’ Our prayers were answered, as doctors determined the next step, which was a transfer to the ICU, and then to surgery for an arterial embolization. The bleeding finally stopped, but a few additional transfusions were required. The doctors at Hershey Medical Center, and at The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, are still trying to research the cause of what happened to our daughter. She required a total of nine units of red blood cells, and four units of fresh frozen plasma. We are extremely grateful to have our daughter, and cannot thank enough our doctors for their efforts; our family and friends for their prayers and outpouring of support; and the donors of Miller-Keystone Blood Center for giving the gift of life. On September 22, we held our first blood drive in Jessica’s honor, to increase awareness of the importance of blood donation. On that day, our daughter had the honor of writing down her parents’ names as first-time blood donors. You never know when you or a loved one will ever need blood. Thank you for being heroes!

Pauline Steigerwalt

On Monday, I was in Orlando having a wonderful time swimming with dolphins and riding rollercoasters with my grandchildren. By Saturday, I was in intensive care and spent seven weeks in the hospital recovering from an unusual blood disorder called Thrombolic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (TTP). Amazingly, the treatment that saved my life came from nearly 800 caring people who generously donated the gift of their blood and plasma. I just never realized how important donating blood is because it can save the lives of family and friends within our community, including mine.

The Schuetz Family

Shealyn was a healthy, athletic 12-year-old girl who played tennis, softball and basketball. In late summer and early fall of 2004, she began experiencing dizziness, shoulder pain and migraine headaches. Following a scan at the end of October, she was diagnosed with medulloblatoma, a rare form of brain cancer. Shealyn faced brain surgery, radiation and chemotherapy with great courage. During her year of chemotherapy, she required IV nutrition and frequent red blood cell and platelet transfusions. We knew there was a platelet shortage, and each time Shealyn’s levels dropped to a critical level, we prayed there would be enough platelets available. we realized then that blood products need to always be available at a moment’s notice, or someone irreplaceable could die. We are thankful to the blood donors who helped save Shealyn’s life, and we are happy to report that she is now a happy 14-year old, well on the road to recovery!

Debbie Bozes

The end of September 1981 was a very terrifying time for me. My pregnancy caused me to have a blood disorder called idiopapathic thromocyclpenia, ITP for short (low platelets). If the doctor would have delivered my son before this was known, I would have bled to death. I received 11 units of platelets. Back then, they didn’t have the automated collections machines, so it took over 80 people to save my life! I am so thankful and grateful for all the donors who have donated so I could spend 35 years with my husband, raise my daughter and son, and get to spend time with my grandson!

The Ferdock Family

In 2006, Vinny Ferdock was burned over 50% of his body from an alcohol fire and explosion in his back yard. Vinny lost all of the skin over his triceps, on his left hand, under his chin and around his ears. His surgeons were able to graft his arms and hand, but not his chin and neck areas. Vinny required two pints of blood the night of the accident, and over the next two weeks would require blood, plasma and other blood products until his condition improved. When he went back for additional surgery, he once again received blood. Vinny was initially treated at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, then life-flighted to Lehigh Valley Health Network. His family is grateful to the hospitals for their expert treatment of their son, and they are also thankful to MKBC for having the blood products available that saved their son’s life. Vinny returned to his family after a mere 22 days in the hospital, and though it will be at least two years before he is completely healed, Vinny is doing just fine.

Lawrence Alati

In 1968, I drove my motorcycle to the Auburn Dam to go waterskiing with a friend. When the boat motor failed to start, I volunteered to ride my bike to get a new spark plug. I had gone a mile or so on a narrow, rough macadam road when I came to a hill with a sharp right curve. That is the last thing I remember. Several days later, I finally awoke in a revolving hospital bed. The doctors were trying to get circulation into my left leg, in order to save it from amputation. I also learned the doctors were considering amputating my right arm because it was missing tendons and muscles. Eventually the doctors had to amputate my left leg. Not being aware of too much through six (6) operations and a 104-degree fever, I finally awoke to some form of reality. That is when I found out that I almost died in the emergency room. I had an almost head-on collision with an Oldsmobile 88. Witnesses said I was thrown 45 feet into the air. When I landed, I was disemboweled and bleeding profusely from my abdomen, my left arm and my right leg. My left leg was smashed.

Back in the mid-60s, there was no EMS service as we know it today It took over an hour and a half for the volunteer ambulance to get me to the hospital, and because of the long delay, I had no pulse, only a heartbeat. I was later told that I had lost 90% of my blood, and that my surviving was nothing short of a miracle. In order to give me transfusions, the doctors had to cut the ankle of my right leg to find a vein. I was told that I received more than 40 pints of life-sustaining blood. I had often donated before my accident, but after my accident I learned first-hand how important donating blood really is. Once I regained my health, I began donating on a regular basis, and am still doing so today. Every single day, I am grateful to those who gave their blood. In doing so, they saved my life. They are heroes.

The Batdorf Family

No one ever understands the importance of plasma donations – until someone you know receives them. Meet 15-year-old Aaron. Two years ago, while burning branches in his family’s yard, Aaron’s clothing caught fire and 30% of his body was ravaged by flames. Although Aaron has no memories of his treatment, his family recalls every unit of blood, every unit of plasma, every prayer, and every healthcare professional responsible for saving his life.

The Heintz Family

Although 4 years, 8 months and 6 days doesn’t seem like a long time, to Ally it was a lifetime. Ally impressed everyone with her ability to rebound and her ever-present smile. Her body had been stressed by medical problems from her premature birth and gastroschisis, a liver transplant before she was a year old and, finally, a multivisceral transplant in July 2008. Ally had hundreds of ‘Angels’ who gave blood in her honor during her lifetime. Her life was ended by a simply infection that traveled to her heart. Her legacy was teaching people the importance of blood and organ donation.

Alicia Rodriguez

In early 2003, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This is a very aggressive form of cancer and completely took over my body in a matter of days. I was placed at St. Christopher’s Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia for four months straight. During this time, I received a brutal assortment of experimental chemotherapy, which left my body completely drained. It soon became necessary for me to receive blood transfusions almost every day. My blood counts were so low that I needed just as many platelet transfusions as blood, but the platelets were harder to come by. It was a long uphill battle for me to overcome this debilitating disease, but with help from the good people who decided to take time out of their busy lives to donate blood, I am now a healthy, 21-year-old full-time student.

Tammy Rank

In May 2004, my 11-year-old son, Jeremy, was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphoblastic / acute lymphocytic) leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, the cells in the body that normal fight infections. As part of his chemotherapy treatment, he has thus-far received five (5) blood transfusions, and also a platelet transfusion. Giving blood has taken on a new meaning since my son was diagnosed with cancer. I had donated occasionally in the past, but now I make it the norm. Giving blood truly is a gift of life!

The Baldwin Family

Logan is your typical 6-year-old boy. He has way too much energy and a smile that lights up your heart. In 2000, Logan’s world changed dramatically. For five months, he was treated for chronic ear aches, asthma and coxsackie. His mother and father, both trained EMTs and paramedics, knew something was very wrong. It wasn’t until Logan got even sicker that their worst suspicions were met: Logan was diagnosed with AML (Acute Myid Leukemia), a very aggressive form of cancer, typically diagnosed in adults. At 2-years-old, Logan was given a mere 40% chance of survival. But after 8 months of chemotherapy and “lots and lots” of blood and platelets, he is a happy and healthy young boy. Logan is now a kindergarten student, a Reading Royals fan, and an enthusiastic soccer player. His mother credits the generosity of volunteer blood and platelet donors for saving her son’s life. His mere presence is a miracle and a testament to the value of blood donations.

Harvey and Sue Hohl

The 1st annual Angela Hohl memorial blood drive took place on November 10, 2003. During Angie’s illness, we came to realize the severity of blood and platelets in the area. We waited for many days for long hours while the hospital searched for the correct type of platelets for Angela. As parents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, friends and students, we hope you all consider helping the Blood Center be prepared for the next child who may need the volume of blood and platelets that Angie did, by donating the ‘Gift of Life’ with a blood donation.

Diana Perez

When my son Ritchie was born, he was diagnosed with a coarctation of the aorta, a narrowing of the aorta, which prevents oxygen from traveling to his lower extremities. To repair this condition, he underwent heart surgery when he was only 11 days old. During this time, Ritchie was given numerous units of blood and platelets. I cannot thank the volunteer blood donors enough for providing the gift of life for Ritchie and for others in our community.

Timothy Kita

Several years ago, I was the victim of a random shooting. At the time, my wife was 6 weeks away from the birth of our first child. With injuries to major organs and arteries, I needed over 70 units of plasma, platelets and red blood cells to survive the next few days. Through the generosity of volunteer blood donors, I am happy to report that I am doing well. Thanks to Miller Memorial Blood Center, blood was available at a very critical time in my life.

Janeen Freiss

As a mother of three young children, a wife and friend to others in the Lehigh Valley, it is hard to imagine that my life could have been in jeopardy without any warning. At 38 weeks of pregnancy, I experienced one of the scariest moments of my life, as I suffered total placenta abruption, which threatened the life of my baby and me. I was rushed to the operating room of our local hospital, where the doctors had to perform an emergency C-section, as I was literally hemorrhaging to death internally while my baby was swallowing my blood. My total blood loss was approximately 3000 cc or the blood in my body, and a blood transfusion was required. I received 7 units of packed red blood cells, 6 units of platelets and 4 units of fresh frozen plasma. Luckily, this story has a positive ending, as both the baby and I are recovering. I am thankful that there was an adequate blood supply when I was in need. Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy life to assist in saving someone else’s life. My family and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the gift of life through your blood donation.

Jerry Block

My first blood transfusion was in 1989, when I underwent heart surgery. Since that time, I have been in the hospital at least eight times, and have received over 45 units of blood. I am only one of many individuals in our community that has a personal stake in the need for a safe and adequate blood supply in our region. My sincere thanks to Miller Memorial Blood Center and to blood donors everywhere, for giving the gift of life.

Robert Ditro

A few years back I found myself ill with what I assumed was a virus or flu bug. When my condition didn’t improve, I went to see my doctor, who sent me to the hospital where I was told I had a bleeding ulcer. I had lost approximately 6 pints of blood in two days, and the doctors told me that if I had waited a few more days, I may have lost my life. I am thankful that blood was there in my time of need, and I now donate blood approximately every eight weeks. It is safe and easy, and may save someone else’s life.

Betsy Adams

In February 2003, I underwent triple heart bypass surgery, and received several units of blood. Three weeks later, I felt well enough to attend a blood drive meeting at Sacred Heart Church in West Reading, as our parish nurses were planning to host our first blood drive with Keystone Community Blood Bank. As an active parish nurse, I believe it is important that people realize the vital role the Blood Bank plays in our community. Many people do not realize that the process of donating blood is quick, easy and completely safe. People should not wait for an emergency in order to donate – they need to understand that the need for blood and blood donors exists every day.

Dr. Robert and Carolyn Coni

When Jack was 6 months old, we learned that he had an inherited blood disorder, thalassemia, which prevents him from making his own red blood cells. He thus faced a lifetime of transfusions. The staff at Miller-Keystone Blood Center has been expert in its efforts to see this through, and no task is taken for granted or considered too small. From the beginning, we have been guided through this difficult process with professionalism and care. It is largely due to these efforts that these life-saving treatments can seem almost routine.

The Montanaro Family

During routine bloodwork in July 2005, Bill Montanaro’s family doctor realized there was cause for alarm, as Bill’s red cell count was abnormally low. Bill was later diagnosed with Myelofibrosis. Myelofibrosis is a disorder in which fibrous tissue replaces the blood producing cells in the bone marrow. Consequently, red blood cell production decreases, fewer red blood cells are released into the blood stream, and anemia develops. It was then, Bill explains, that he went from a ‘workaholic’ to a man who appreciated every day to the fullest with his wife and best friend, Roseann. He was especially grateful to the dozens of blood donors who saved his life, and until September 2006, when he lost the courageous battle against his disease, he was often seen at blood drives, where he volunteered as a donor aide, while his wife, Roseann, served in our canteen.

Peggy Stoudt

My dad, Ellis Neely, passed away 6 years ago after suffering with leukemia for 8 years. Had it not been for the blood transfusions he received regularly over those 8 years, he would not have lived as long as he did. My dad had been a blood donor for many years, and knew the importance of donating. Three times each year, I coordinate blood drives at Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 with him in mind.