March 1, 2012


Deuth,-Dave-colorBy David W. Deuth, CFSP
President, Weerts Funeral Home

Some of you may recall an article I wrote five years ago about our daughter, Madelyn, and the real-life drama that unfolded in our family back in March of 1998. She had become very anemic and lethargic, very uncharacteristic for an otherwise bouncy nearly-4-year-old. We took her to the local hospital and learned that her hemoglobin – the red blood cell component of her blood – was dangerously low.

We lived in Minnesota at that time, and our local doctor determined that she needed specialized care – and fast. We were airlifted to Sioux Falls, the nearest regional medical center. The flight nurse muttered that she had never seen a patient with a hemoglobin level so low remain conscious . . . or even survive. We began to realize at that moment how serious and desperate the situation had become.

The short story is that Maddy has a very rare condition known as Idiopathic Pulmonary Hemosiderosis, medical-speak for “collection of blood in the lung of unknown origin.” Although there’s no known cure, she has been treated by some fantastic doctors at the Mayo Clinic for over ten years now; we’re grateful that she’s been declared symptom-free for over two years!

The rest of the story is that Maddy received two units of red blood cells almost immediately upon arrival at the medical center that day. That’s a lot of blood to transfuse into a tiny 4-year-old body. And that blood transfusion literally saved her life.

I wanted to be her blood donor; I was already rolling up my sleeve when they told me that transfusion was the next step. They explained that blood donations are always welcome, but all donated blood requires a two-week screening process to make certain it’s safe for transfusion. We need to use blood that had already been donated and screened. And, we needed it fast.

Even though I couldn’t be the donor for my own daughter that day, I was grateful that someone else paid it forward for us with their blood donation that was screened, tested and ready to go when we needed it. I’ve since donated over five gallons through the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center. It’s the least I can do.

We’ll never know who paid it forward for us 15 years ago. And that’s OK. I’ve decided that I’ll just pay it forward for someone else every time I roll up my sleeve at the Blood Center.

Would you please consider doing the same? It’s one way to be a true lifesaver.

Remember Well.