By Charvee Sharma, American Red Cross Volunteer

Kathleen Lappe’s brother was only eight years old when he was diagnosed with a staph infection and as a result had to go undergo several major operations. This harrowing experience of watching her baby brother spend many weeks in the hospital to get blood transfusions became Kathleen’s motivation to becoming a blood donor.

Read all about Kathleen’s experience and what drives her to donate blood below.

What motivated you to make your first donation?

“My younger brother had several operations starting when he was eight years old and as a result had to be admitted in the hospital for weeks in isolation. I started my first blood donation when I turned 18 (one had to be 18 back then), and never looked back!

Years later, my brother had chemo and then, a bone marrow transplant, and my nephew had chemo, too, so I started giving platelets. Today, at 65, my brother co-owns a construction company. That’s the short version!

I donate blood because it’s something I can do that helps others and I am able to because I have been blessed with good health.”

What would you tell someone who is considering blood donation for the first time?

“Do it!! It is so very easy and can save lives. Don’t look at the needle if that bothers you – trust me, it barely hurts.”

There is no substitute for blood. From accidents and housefires to life-threatening medical conditions, there is a constant need for blood to help patients like Kathleen’s brother survive. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

Make your appointment today via the Red Cross Blood Donor app or by clicking this link.

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