"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."
Jeff Warren & Family, Easton, PA
"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."
Meredith Diane Chepolis, Easton, PA
"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."
Joan Hendershot, Lehigh Valley, PA
" 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 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 myleoid 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!"
Kristin Kranzley Parks, Allentown, PA
"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.”
Joanne Loeper, Reading, PA
"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."
AimeeMarie Rush & Family, Bethlehem Township, PA
"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 right 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."
The Lukow Family, Allentown, PA
"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!"
Karen Owens, Boyertown, PA
"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 Sobjak / Buckley Family, Oley, PA
"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!"
The Okoniewski Family, Montgomery County, PA
"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!"
Bob, Liz, Melissa, Jessica and Robby Koczot, Berks County, PA
"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 safe the lives of family and friends within our community, including mine."
Pauline Steigerwalt, Andreas, PA
"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!"
The Schuetz Family, Mohnton, PA
"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!"
Debbie Bozes, Allentown, PA
"In 2006, Vinny Ferdock was burned over 505 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."
The Ferdock Family, Montgomery County, PA
"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 has 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."
Lawrence Alati, Shoemakersville, PA
"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 Batdorf Family, Pottstown, PA
"In 1998, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. After surgery to remove my kidney, I began chemotherapy. When I completed the chemotherapy, my doctors discovered an infection in my bloodstream. If it had not been for the quick attention of my doctors, massive doses of antibiotics, and volunteer blood donors, I would not be here to hold my first grandchild. Thank you to my doctors, nurses, and the countless people who gave their donations to save my life."
Ken Graves, Cochranville, PA
"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 live 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."
The Heintz Family, Perkiomenville, PA
"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 Childrens 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."
Alicia Rodriguez, Bethlehem, PA
"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 normall 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!"
Tammy Rank, Blandon, PA
"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 wos 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." The Baldwin Family, Berks County, PA