Atlanta, Ga.,
13
June
2019
|
01:00 PM
America/Chicago

One Pint Can Save a Life

Amy Brooks understands the value of blood donations.

She donated blood for the first time last year following a harrowing experience with her husband, Kenneth Brooks.

Kenneth was feeling under the weather and could not get an appointment to see his doctor for six weeks.

“We were just waiting on the appointment,” Amy says. “One night, I heard a crash and found my husband on the bathroom floor having some type of seizure. The thought of losing my husband… I lost it.”

She called 911, and her husband was conscious before they arrived, but still wasn’t right. After getting her daughters placed with a neighbor, Amy met her husband at the emergency room.

“I explained the seizure. After several hours, I stepped out of his room. When I came back, it looked like a bomb had gone off. There were things thrown everywhere. He had another seizure,” she says.

After running blood work and doing scans, they found the problem: a bleeding stomach ulcer.

“Normally, when you have a bleeding ulcer, you show signs. We had no indication,” Amy says. “His blood count was really low, so they immediately got blood for him.”

When receiving blood, as long as it’s the same type (A, B, AB or O), your body will accept it. But Kenneth needed a lot of blood.

“It wasn’t his exact blood type, so his body was rejecting it. We called the Red Cross and they typed his specific blood type, but couldn’t find any donations available. They said it could take two or three days,” Amy says.

The doctors couldn’t get the bleed to stop and they had to pump the new blood out. Kenneth was put on a ventilator and sedated.

“It was hard knowing I had to wait for something you would think would be so simple, that gives life so easily,” Amy says.

At the 25th hour, they found an exact match.

“I’ve never been so relieved. We did a little happy dance.”

It’s been a year, and Kenneth is still recovering.

 

“Eventually, we got the ulcer fixed. They had to remove half of his stomach because they couldn’t stop the bleeding. Losing that much blood, people don’t realize how much weaker you get. He’s still not 100 percent,” she says.

A few days after Kenneth’s recovery, Amy was leaving the hospital and saw an American Red Cross worker delivering blood to the hospital.

“I went up to him and I said, ‘It probably wasn’t you, but I’m going to thank you anyway. Because of people like you, my husband is still alive.’”

Amy had never given blood because of medical conditions she thought restricted her.

“I was wrong. I can donate as long as I’m healthy. The next time the Red Cross came to my office I invited my peers to donate in the name of my husband because they saved his life. It was nice to give back.

“You don’t think your life will change in an instant, but it can.”

State Farm® is partnering with the American Red Cross Missing Types campaign for the second year. The campaign focuses on the need for blood by requesting people “fill in the missing types” of A, B, AB and O blood. Partners can promote the campaign by removing those letters from logos and communications. Schedule a donation to help fill in the missing types.