As I sit to write down these words in honor of World Blood Donor Day, I can’t help but shed tears as I think of September 11, 2023. It’s the day I gave birth to our third child and it’s also the day that I received a blood transfusion after losing nearly 40% of my blood after giving birth to her. I’ve given birth three times — once medicated, once unmedicated, and tears each time — and this was the most excruciating recovery of my life.

One hour after receiving my blood transfusion, I finally felt comfortable enough to hold my daughter for the first time.

For nearly a month, I was unable to stand without support. The physical measures that were taken to help my uterus contract after delivery left me sore and tender. I was weak and out of breath after climbing just one flight of stairs. The fatigue and trauma of what had occurred weighed on me physically and mentally. The fact that someone else’s blood was now running through my veins felt surreal, but through every painful moment I found myself with a deep sense of gratitude.

Gratitude for the stranger who sat in a chair and had a needle pierce their vein in order to save the life of a complete stranger.

Gratitude for the one who saved my life so that I could return home to my three precious daughters.

Without that blood donation, I would not be here. My life would have been lost and my final moments with my newborn would have consisted of hearing the midwife tell the nurses, “Leave her on the warmer. She’ll be fine. I need you over here.”

Without that blood donation, I would be just a memory for my daughters.

Honoring Blood Donors

June 14 is World Blood Donor Day, an internationally recognized day dedicated to celebrating blood donors for their lifesaving contributions. It’s also a day meant to raise awareness of the need for a safe and stable blood supply.

Did you know that only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood every year? Let that sink in, only 3 out of every 100 eligible donors decide to save a life. Imagine what could happen if we had even more donors from all races and ethnicities donating.

Why You Should Become a Blood Donor (If You’re Eligible)

With such a small percentage of regular donors, it’s important that we understand the importance of donating blood and that includes some stunning facts.

Blood donations expire. Most blood products can’t be stored for long periods of time, which means that they constantly need to be refreshed.

Diversity does make a difference. Some blood types are extremely rare and can likely only be found in others who share ancestral orgins.

One donation can save multiple lives. A single unit of blood can be separated into red blood cells, platelets, and plasma, one donation can save more than one person.

Donations from Latinos are vital. Donations from our community are especially important in the treatment of trauma patients and others needing emergency blood transfusions because more than half of all Latinos in the U.S. have type O blood – which is most often in critical supply as it is most often needed by hospitals

How to Become a Blood Donor

Schedule your blood donation by using the Blood Donor App, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

One Final Thought

As I sit here typing this, I see the “Tinkerbells” (the name my daughters have given the glittery reflections from random objects when the sun hits them) coming through my window as my daughters create magic with their Play-Doh. I hear my 9-month-old babbling about a teether as she pulls open her big sisters’ play kitchen. I feel an overwhelming peace of living this absolutely normal life with my family.

All of this is thanks to one person who decided to give up just a few minutes of their day to give to someone they’ll never meet. They’ll never know my name and I’ll never know theirs. They’ll never meet the daughters that have a mama because of their generous donation. They’ll never shake the hand of the husband who stood by watching his wife verbally confirm that a blood transfusion was okay. They’ll never know me, but I will forever remember them.

If you are eligible to donate, will you please donate? You’ll never know how your donation is used, but I guarantee you that it will be life-changing.