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LETTER: Why I'm a Blood Donor

Patch reader Jackie Potenzone shares the story of love and loss that motivated her to give of herself for the health of others and their families.

I read the article in the Patch on the and the need for donations. I want to tell you why I donated blood after reading that story, and why I'm now a blood donor.

We need to take a time machine back to the summer of 2005. My sister was fighting the end stages of gall bladder cancer. Her name was Mary and she was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer in October of 2003. Her cancer was inoperable but treatable with palliative care. I did not understand what that meant at the time or maybe I did not want to. The summer of 2005; as my mother put it that summer, was the beginning of the end for her.

Every weekend my family and I would take the ride to NH to go visit her in the Hospital. With us having small children my husband would visit with her for a short visit then take the kids to a local park so I could have more precious time with her. The Park and that pint of blood were so important and precious. Time is something that is cherished by families of loved ones suffering from an illness. I noticed every time I went to visit her a bag of blood being given to her.

I did not understand at the time why she always needed blood. I asked the nurse one day why she always needed blood transfusions. The nurse explained to me that her body no longer made blood cells as a result of her cancer; she needed transfusions to stay alive. I am sure there is a medical name for this condition but I don't know what it is. I sat by her bed side and thought to myself thank you for the person who donated the pint of blood that was being given to my sister, so we could have one more day together.

This was a common occurrence during the summer of 2005. The summer time is when blood donations are at there lowest. Mary passed away August 26, 2005 just 11 days after her 51st birthday.

I want to thank the unselfish people who donated blood in the summer of 2005 for giving my family one more day.

I personally gave blood once in high school and never even thought about how important giving blood was. Now I donate blood much more often. After reading the article on The Patch. My thoughts drifted to my sister and the joy I got seeing her alive one more day. The joy was a gift given to our family by a generous blood donor that summer.

Please take the time and find a blood drive. Donate blood. Give that gift to some family.

As I write this I still miss my sister, but her death has made me a better person. I try to sit back and enjoy life. I found my passion for gardening. I try to enjoy every sunset from my deck and enjoy watching the hummingbirds that come to the feeder near my front porch. I try to make time everyday to enjoy special moments. I don't worry about everything, especially things I cannot control. I also became a blood donor.

I hope you read this and do not feel sad; I hope you make a difference. Donating blood only takes about an hour. You get little gifts every time you donate. This month they gave Dunkin Donuts give cards, coupons for free water, and you can enter the American Red Cross raffle for Boston Red Sox tickets. Cross your fingers for me I hope to win the Red Sox tickets. Im almost 44 and have NEVER been to a Red Sox Game. This might be the summer.

Live Well, Love Much, Laugh Often,

Jackie Potenzone

Denise Antaki July 13, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Touching story, Jackie. Thank you for sharing it.

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