EDITOR’S NOTE, Nov. 30, 2016: We at the Red Cross have learned of Heather’s recent passing. Our deepest condolences and hearts are with her family, friends, coworkers and the many others to whom she meant so much. To help honor her legacy, this story of the bond between Heather and her coworkers will remain on this regional blog.
Please direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Cassylee Mead
Edited by Nancy Waddell
“I thought she had the flu,” said Bryan Smith, Heather Postyeni’s fiancé. They were approaching two years together when he took Heather to the doctor. It was May of 2016 when Heather was told she had leukemia, cancer that attacks blood and bone marrow.
Heather Postyeni was a registered nurse for Providence Medical Group working with a tight- knit group of nurses serving throughout Snohomish County, Wash. “It was shocking because she is very young,” said her coworker Jamie Holloway. When Jamie found out Heather had to use 30 units of blood in the last two to three months, she realized that they had to do something. First, she reached out to her colleagues and suggested the idea of honoring Heather by helping the community through a blood drive. Then, Jamie called the Red Cross to make an appointment for donating the blood.
The Red Cross must collect enough blood each and every day to help accident victims, cancer patients, surgical candidates, children with blood disorders and others in need of blood like Heather. The need for blood is constant; in the U.S. someone is in need of blood every two seconds.
The blood drive held on August 4 at Providence Mill Creek featured many smiling volunteers and people willing to save a life. Heather attended as well, talking to all those donating and to all her adoring supporters.
“If it’s not available and I need it, I am in trouble,” said Heather at the blood drive.
The Red Cross issued an emergency appeal this summer to eligible blood and platelet donors for this very reason. Red Cross blood products were being distributed to hospitals faster than donations were coming in.
“I knew Heather was in for a tough fight,” said coworker Melanie Mathiason, adding, “but with her energy and spirit she can kick this.” Melanie worked with Heather and volunteered at the blood drive. She says that Heather has the most positive outlook and she is loved by all. Kristen Martinez, the donor, who previously worked with Heather said, “She’s the sweetest person ever.” Kristen was excited to help save lives and to support Heather.
The blood drive collected 30 units of blood. Each unit of blood can save up to three lives, meaning that as many as 90 lives were helped in honor of Heather. Heather remains hopeful, and just finished her last round of chemotherapy. She is thankful for all of her supporters, and her coworkers who made this blood drive possible.
To find a blood drive near you visit: http://www.redcross.org/give-blood
Find more information on hosting a blood drive by calling: 1-800-RED CROSS