Anyone – regardless of age or health – may require a blood transfusion at any moment.
Kristina Edgeworth is case and point of that.
The hair stylist from Chicago was fit and active with no previous medical issues as she and husband Kevin were preparing to welcome their first child in December 2014. But 15 minutes after giving birth to daughter Violet on Christmas Eve, Kristina was whisked out of the birthing room by doctors.
“It was the craziest thing,” Kevin recalled. “Our daughter had just been born and then Kristina was rushed out of the room.”
Kristina was suffering from postpartum hemorrhaging and had already lost a lot of blood. She received 13 units of blood as well as platelets before she was released from the hospital two days later. Violet was born perfectly healthy and went home on Christmas.
“It was really a freak thing,” Kristina said of the postpartum hemorrhaging. “I never thought something like this would happen. It was never a concern.”
Kevin described the incident as an “eye opener,” and showed both the importance of donating blood.
“The reality is I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for people willing to donate blood,” Kristina said. “Blood donors saved my life.”
The Edgeworths have made it a point to “pay it forward” by donating – usually platelets – at the Vitalant community donation center in Evanston.
“They are so accommodating there,” Kristina said of the staff at the Evanston CDC. “They make me feel like a queen.”
Both Kristina and Kevin have A+ blood, which is the second most common blood type and therefore one that is in constant need.
“We want to do our part to help,” Kristina said. “I think a lot of people may not realize that in certain cases women will need blood after giving birth. [Blood donations] are not just for people involved in an accident or having a surgery.”
In addition to making regular donations, the Edgeworths have also taken to social media to encourage friends and family to give the gift of life and become blood donors.
“I don’t do a lot of posting on social media but whenever I’m making a [blood or platelet] donation I always make a post to tell my buddies,” Kevin said. “You never know when [needing a blood transfusion] could happen to you. It’s important to make sure the supply is there.”
“We just want to do what we can to get the word out,” Kristina added. “We’ve had a few family and friends follow suit and donate. It’s a great thing.”
Vitalant-Illinois operates 17 community donor centers throughout the Chicagoland area. All of the centers collect whole blood donations and many also operate as apheresis centers to collect platelet and plasma products. To expedite the donation process, schedule your appointment in advance by registering online or calling 877.258.4825.
Every two seconds someone needs a blood transfusion, and a single donation can help up to three people.