By Abby Lutz
When Tiffany Lundstrom was growing up, she was no stranger to blood donations.
“My dad is O negative, so he had given blood a lot,” Tiffany says.
But there’s a difference between knowing that donating blood is a worthy cause, and understanding the high-stress situation of needing blood during a crisis.
For Tiffany, it wasn’t until later in her life when she realized just how blood donations can impact a life. It was a lesson she learned firsthand while in the delivery room with her first child.
“I started to hemorrhage,” she said, “so I had to accept blood, which ultimately saved my life.”
Tiffany has since had two more blood transfusions. One was after the birth of her third child, the other while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.
“I was doing really well and then all of a sudden, for some reason, my body just tanked. My numbers went really down,” said Tiffany, recalling the latest blood transfusion. “I was really crushed, to be honest, because I was doing so well through most of my chemo and then all of a sudden it just plummeted.”
It was a hard reality to accept, Tiffany says, needing another blood transfusion. “It’s scary. You don’t necessarily want to have blood given to you, but at the same time if you don’t, you’re not going to make it. It’s kind of traumatic.”
‘Traumatic’ is how Tiffany describes each experience which led her to a blood transfusion. Still, those experiences helped her understand just how important blood donors are. Now, she feels she can’t thank blood donors enough.
“If they hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be alive today,” she says.
Still, statistics show only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood. Tiffany hopes that by sharing her story, more people will realize the lifesaving effects of donating blood and roll up their sleeves.
“People don’t think about it,” said Tiffany. “Maybe they haven’t gone through the traumatic experiences that I have and realized that it really does save somebody’s life. I think that normally we think we’re invincible, and we don’t think that me taking 10 minutes and donating blood could really make a difference in somebody else’s life.”
And if she could meet the person who donated the blood she received, Tiffany had these words: “Thanks to you I’m still here to be a mom and still here to see all my friends and family. Without your donation, I wouldn’t be. I still have three kids that I want to see get their families, and I want grandkids. That’s what it’s all about.”
The Red Cross provides around 40% of the nation’s blood supply, but it’s not possible without generous donors. If you’re interested in rolling up your sleeve and making a lifesaving blood donation, click here.