Monday, February 21, 2011

Meet John Donor

John L. Billimek, Major Gifts Officer
American Red Cross-Dallas Area Chapter

The following email was sent by an employee at the Dallas Area Chapter in an attempt to inspire his colleagues to give blood this month. We were so touched by this unsolicited and heartfelt appeal. So much so, that we wanted America to know the type of people who serve at the American Red Cross. And we hope you’ll follow John’s extraordinary example and become a blood donor champion.

“I have not had an opportunity to meet most of you receiving this e-mail. Nonetheless, I wanted to encourage to you give blood this month if you can. Because of the really awful weather, we’ve had to cancel some 800 blood drives in our region.

While I have always viewed donating blood as something very small I could do to impact others, I gained a new perspective of blood donations over the last year…

My father lost his life to cancer last July. Prior to this he received three blood product donations which served to extend his life by several months. In that time, he was able to see all of his grandchildren one more time, even getting to watch his oldest granddaughter play soccer (a sport which he followed closely with all his granddaughters). He got to see those things because someone donated blood.

Also, my wife’s father received a heart transplant last fall and I know that donated blood was used during his multi-hour surgery. He is with us today because someone donated blood.

As a part of Recovery 2011, a national appeal during the month of February to recover the units of blood lost due to weather. As someone whose life has been impacted by blood donors I would encourage you to donate if you are able. If you are not, perhaps you can encourage someone to donate. You can sign up by going to

I think sometimes it’s hard for others to relate to giving blood because they (thankfully) have never had someone close to them who was on the receiving end of a blood donation. In my “short” 42 years I’ve had it happen twice in the span of six months and because of that I plan to be a blood donor champion the rest of my life. It’s the best way I know how to express my gratitude for those who gave to help my family.

Thank you for reading this e-mail and considering giving the gift of life to someone else.”

John L. Billimek
Major Gifts Officer
American Red Cross-Dallas Area Chapter

1 comment:

  1. As OTC volunteers, we can fully agree with John's post.
    We to lost Merlin's father Rolly, just last month, he had also received platelets twice, in 32 days. Rolly was himself a 5 gallon donor! We aren't able to donate, but have helped at blood draws in our area.
    Being DAT Capts in our area, and national volunteers, we continue to work to make a small difference in others lives. We hope others reading this, realize that even if they can't donate, there are other ways to help!

    Jan & Merlin Cassens, Oregon Trail Chapter, Northeast Oregon District


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