By Presley Dailey, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas
The reason we are so proactive about collecting blood donations at the American Red Cross is to supply it for those in dire situations across the country. Whether the need is from car accidents, extensive surgeries, major organ transplants, etc., hospitals having access to a large blood supply can mean the difference between life and death.
Tina Bartolucci, an office manager for Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texas in Keller, experienced this serious situation firsthand when she was diagnosed with acute liver failure and needed an immediate transplant to save her life.
Sometimes, these diagnoses come unexpectedly even for people who live healthy and active lifestyles. Tina was active in fitness programs and ate a healthy diet. Having had no serious medical history, the diagnosis came as a complete shock. She had no serious conditions and only started experiencing notable trouble in the weeks before her diagnosis.
Within those weeks, Tina had been in and out of her doctor’s office for respiratory issues that were not improving and she became increasingly concerned. One day, her daughter pointed out a yellow color in the whites of her eyes and Tina decided to get it checked out.
Soon, she had been examined through a series of lab tests and received troubling news. She was sent immediately to the emergency room at Texas Health Alliance Hospital and told her liver was failing and she would need an urgent transplant to save her life.
After being transferred to UT Southwestern in Dallas for the transplant, Tina’s liver began to fail quickly and the situation escalated. She was placed on the transplant list and family and friends began praying and hoping she would get a match within the next few days. The situation became more critical by the minute.
Fortunately, Tina and her family were soon informed there was a match and the life-saving surgery could be performed immediately. Tina received her new liver on Thursday, Sept. 6. She awoke from the surgery two days later with a second chance at life.
As Tina reflected on her situation and the incredible collaboration it took to save her life, she realized how important it was to spread the word about organ and blood donation. Patients who need organ transplants also need blood transfusions to make the operation a success. Without blood donations, thousands of people may never get their lifesaving transplants.
Since Tina’s miraculous operation and recovery, the American Red Cross has teamed up with North Texas Foot and Ankle to encourage people in the surrounding communities to save lives and donate blood. The two organizations are working together to educate people about donating and hosting a blood drive at the Gapevine location on April 16.
As word gets out and more people begin to understand the incredible impact of donating blood, we hope to see a surge of newly educated and generous participants who want to make a real difference in others’ lives.
For more information on how to donate and to schedule your own blood donation appointment, visit www.redcrossblood.org today. You could be the reason someone like Tina gets to go home to their family.