By Saul Wisnia
Wendy Akeson is passionate about both running and donating platelets. Never has she felt such a strong connection between these two roles as she did this year.
Four minutes after completing her 10th consecutive Boston Marathon, Akeson heard the explosions that will forever link this year’s marathon with tragedy – and then saw people running toward her from the finish line she had just crossed.
The next time you’re ready to curse the narrow, cobblestoned streets of Boston while driving, imagine being Andre Seale. Starting next month, he’ll be navigating them in a 42-foot-long vehicle with the most precious of all resources aboard: donated blood.
Seale will be behind the wheel of the new Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women’s Hospital Blood Mobile, which will expand the organizations’ ability to conduct blood drives throughout the greater Boston area.
Bob Hurkett doesn’t know what became of the little girl he first heard of in 1998, but he thinks about her often. She was 5 years old and needed a bone marrow transplant. Hurkett and his wife, Jane, attended a donor drive hosted by the girl’s family where their blood was drawn and tested as a possible match.
Neither was a match but Hurkett felt compelled to help. When he learned about the need for platelets – which are vitally important for cancer patients as a means of replacing their own depleted supplies, as well as for trauma victims and other critically ill adults and children –he volunteered to donate.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to help cancer patients is to give blood. There is a constant need for donations, but especially so in the summer when people are on vacation and unable to donate. One pint of blood can save up to two lives, and one platelet donation can save up to three. Read more