By Diane Toomey
Lyani Valle, a Senior Program Manager with Amazon, volunteered to help with a recent blood drive at the Seattle office — one of many Red Cross blood drives now held by Amazon throughout the year. While Lyani herself is unable to donate, she “does what she can” to support the cause and has a story that affirms the “Donating Blood Makes a Big Difference in the Lives of Others” phrase that graces the Red Cross website.
See photos from our Amazon blood drive at The Spheres: Click HERE
In January 2017, Lyani went into the hospital in crisis after being misdiagnosed with a medical condition. They gave Lyani a 10% chance of survival; she was hemorrhaging and had an extremely low platelet count. To stem the crisis, Lyani began receiving blood and platelets which totaled 55 units over the next 3 weeks. She remained in the hospital for another 6 weeks receiving additional therapies to successfully combat a rare type of Leukemia.
Lyani knows she was lucky to survive. Shortly after Lyani’s experience, her mother was also diagnosed with Leukemia. However, living in Puerto Rico, her mom found it hard to secure the blood she needed for treatment from local hospitals. She had to rely on donations from her “immediate network,” meaning her family and friends.
Lyani said it was a “very frustrating situation” and it contrasted dramatically to her experience in Miami where the blood she needed was readily on hand. Sadly, Lyani’s mother did not survive her battle with blood cancer, nor did she live to see the additional trauma Hurricane Maria brought to the hospitals where she was seeking care.
Lyani credits her own survival to the work the American Red Cross does, seeking donors and holding drives to ensure that blood banks are stocked for people in need.
Lyani says, “without the Red Cross I would not be here today.”
The need for blood is constant. Make an appointment to donate today. www.RedCrossBlood.org