Health

As Regional Blood Shortage Looms, Michigan Woman Tells Story Of Blood Transfusion That Saved Her Life

| by Jared Keever

As a critical blood shortage looms in southeastern Michigan, a Worth Township woman is going public with her story — telling others how a blood transfusion saved her life — in the hopes that others will choose to donate blood. 

Jeannie Talarico, who is today cancer-free, said she would have died from complications related to her diagnosis of Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, if it were not for donated blood.

“What happens is your blood gets thick,” Talarico told WDIV. “That caused me to hemorrhage and even my organs were beginning to shut down. I was so scared. I was terrified, absolutely terrified.”

During the diagnostic process she underwent a bone marrow biopsy, and that’s when the complications struck. 

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“Everything went fine, and I got home, I started bleeding and bleeding and bleeding. It wouldn't stop,” she said. “I went into the hospital, and I had lost so much blood at that point that I needed a transfusion.”

And she received one. 

Chemotherapy eventually killed her cancer but she looks back to that blood transfusion as something that saved her life. The experience changed her outlook on blood donations. 

“Before I got ill, I didn't think about giving blood, you know, until I was the person that needed it, and I thought, 'My gosh, what if there wasn't any blood?’” Talarico said. “I just ask those people out there that can give blood to donate and don't stop donating.” 

“I am just ever so grateful for you taking the time to give, you have no idea what you've done for me, and I just want to say, ‘Thank you,’” she added. 

The American Red Cross announced a blood shortage in Michigan earlier in August. 

“Overall blood donations in the Red Cross Southeastern Michigan Blood Services Region have been approximately 1,810 fewer per month in June and July this year than the previous 10 months of the year,” the organization said in a statement published by Grosse Pointe Patch. “When demand for the most needed types begins to outpace donations, the Red Cross alerts donors to help restock the shelves.”

The Red Cross is looking for donors with types O negative, B negative, and A negative. Platelet donors and type AB blood donors are also sought. 

Sources: WDIV, Grosse Pointe Patch / Photo credit: WDIV