jo transfusion

What it Feels Like to Need a Blood Transfusion

I have needed a blood transfusion every few weeks since I was three years old.  Over the course of my life, this adds up to hundreds of donations.

For those who are new to my site, I receive red blood cells from donors because my bone marrow cannot make them on its own. My illness is called beta thalassemia major. The blood cells that my bone marrow produces are small and flat, so they cannot transport oxygen and are useless.

As a child, I remember seeing babies with cancer, lying in their mothers’ arms, receiving blood transfusions while wrapped in blankets.  A wide syringe filled with blood sat inside of a tiny machine that pushed the blood into a tube, through a needle, and into the baby’s body.

I remember feeling so sad for the babies. I really wished that I could help them not need blood transfusions and needles. My pain for them was intense and silent.   There was nothing I could do to help them.

A good friend of my family, Mr. G., must have felt the same way about me.  Only, there was something he could do — and did do.  He became one of the hospital’s best blood donors — a multi-gallon donor.

In fact, he donated to me, directly, for quite some time.  Mr. G. helped saved my life.  He may have also saved me from the various pathogens that were a greater risk to those receiving blood in the 80’s and 90’s.

Let me tell you what that means to me.  Honestly, I can’t.  There are absolutely no words to express the enormity of my gratitude.  There is no greater act of love than to selflessly give of yourself to keep someone else alive.

You can walk for a cause, you can donate to a charity, you can do all kinds of things that may have a positive impact on another person’s life — or you can directly give of your own healthy body (for free) through a blood donation and know 100% that you have saved someone else’s life.

Blood Transfusions

When I was finally old enough to understand how much my life depends on the good will and kindness of others, I decided to dedicate everything I do to them.  I bless my donors every single day. Every action I take and words I speak have my donors in mind.  I try my best to honor every single person who has ever given of him or herself for the sake of keeping me alive, and above all, I do my best to honor Mr. G.

Please watch my video to learn why one needle stick shouldn’t stop you from saving someone else’s life.  Become a hero like Mr. G. and remember that Newton’s Law of Physics proves “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”  When you bless someone else, she, in turn, will bless you too.

If this story resonated with you or if you give blood, know someone who needs blood, or work in a blood bank please let me know in the comments below.  I would love to dedicate this page to you. I will send my blessings to all who share.

With love,

About the Author

Josephine Bila

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I’m Josephine Bila, LMSW, a licensed social worker for you — the health seeker who craves an energized body, strong relationships, and the willpower to overcome any obstacle.

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  1. As your mother, it was a heartache to know that although I gave birth to you, I was not a suitable blood donor for you and neither was your father. It greatly pained us and caused us terrible grief to not be able to give blood for our own child. Thank God for the heroes who came through for you, especially Mr. G., one of our lifelong friends who has our eternal gratitude and love for his generosity in giving his life-saving blood. It is not just on Thanksgiving, but everyday that  I thank God for you, your sister, your father, the things that money cannot buy; the gift of life, family and health, all the blessings, seen and unseen, blessings already given and blessings that are on their way. Live strong, be strong, stay strong.  I love you to infinity and beyond!

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