During Trauma Awareness Month in May, the American Red Cross encourages eligible donors to help ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients with traumatic injuries and other serious medical needs by donating blood or platelets.
Trauma survivors like Katie Shuford know firsthand how a readily available blood supply can mean the difference between life and death. In 2005, donated blood administered during an air transport to the hospital helped save Katie’s life after she fell off a boat at 17 years old. Injured in nine places by the boat’s propeller, one of her injuries required the amputation of her left arm.
“I’m not sure how much blood I received after my boating accident, but I remember a medical professional telling my family and I that I received enough blood to save three peoples’ lives,” said Katie.
Fifteen years later after marrying her high school sweetheart John, Katie experienced postpartum hemorrhaging following childbirth and was rushed into the OR where she received one unit of blood.
“I felt so weak and out of it when I experienced the postpartum hemorrhage,” said Katie. “Immediately after the transfusion, the color returned to my face, and I felt as normal as could be expected.”
Today, Katie and her husband, John, are the parents of a one year old son, Wesley. When she’s not spending time with family or working as a corporate communications manager, Katie continues to pay it forward as a board member for Adventure Amputee Camp, a nonprofit that hosts sleep-away camps for children living with limb loss and/or limb differences. She also serves as a certified peer visitor for the Amputee Coalition of America and is a proud blood donor with the Red Cross, where she once served as a communications intern.
“These experiences made me so grateful to be alive,” said Katie. “I live my life like I got a second and third shot at life, so I never want to take things for granted.”
Appreciative of the generous donors who provided the blood she received, Katie continues to encourage others to give the gift of life. “My friends and family are also blood donors and do it in my honor after witnessing my journey,” said Katie. “An hour of your time can literally save someone’s life.”
During Trauma Awareness Month, the Red Cross reminds donors it’s the blood already
on the shelves that helps save lives during emergencies. Type O blood donors, type AB
plasma donors and platelet donors are especially needed.
All who come to give blood April 19-May 19 will receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice and will automatically be entered to win a new travel trailer camper that sleeps eight, thanks to
Suburban Propane. Those who come to give May 20-31 will receive an exclusive 20-ounce Red Cross aluminum water bottle and customizable sticker set, while supplies last.
Make an appointment to give blood or platelets by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).