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Hundreds of Blood Donors Save Greeley Woman's Life

Emily Boyer

Every three seconds someone in America needs blood. Andrea Linn, a mother of two, knows firsthand just how life saving blood donations can be.

In the summer of 2010, Andrea and her husband both had flu-like systems. Her husband got better, but for Andrea…

 “I just continued to get worse and worse. The kids had swim lessons that week and I would have to try to get the energy to even get them to swim lessons. I would lie down, get the energy to shower; lie down, get the energy to get dress; lie down and then get the energy to take them, which was not like me at all. By the end of the week I started feeling tingling in my fingers and toes and I knew that wasn’t right. So I got to the emergency room and they checked me in. They said 15 years ago it would have been fatal and that my kidneys were shutting down.”

That was the start of Andreas’ 50 day hospital stay at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley. Shortly after being admitted, Andrea was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called Hemolytic Urenic Syndrome also known as H-U-S.

During her hospital stay, Andrea spent four hours each day receiving plasma exchanges. She was given so much blood that Andrea ended up in ICU three times because her lungs filled up with blood.

“I ended up having 642 blood donors save my life. The blood donor center figured out that I was an 80 gallon recipient. I always thought it would be great to be one of the blood donors that have those license plates that said 5 gallon donors, but I can’t give blood because of my disorder so I’ll just have to settle with being an 80 gallon recipient.”

Well, had you ever given blood before you got sick?

“No I hadn’t. I was always one of those that wanted to give blood and I just never got around to it. But you know life happens and I understand the people out there that just don’t have the time or they want to do it someday and for me that day never came.”

Andrea had the opportunity to meet many of her donors. And through the process she learned a lot about the people who are generous enough to give blood.

“What’s amazing about blood donation is that these people just go and give out of the hearts. They don’t have any idea who it is going to. You hear stories about just one person stepping up and saving a life and I had an army step up and save my life. And I’m thankful for everyone one of them. If just one person had decided not to give I don’t know where I’d be. Every drop was needed and every drop was used and every drop I’m very thankful for.”

Right now blood donation is extremely important. Another Andrea, is also in studio with me. Andrea Hawkins is the donor recruitment coordinator for NCMC in Greeley. She says blood donors are especially difficult to come by during the summer months.

“Part of that is we do get so busy with our summer vacations and all the different things that take us away from the regular schedule. Unfortunately in the summer we have an increase in the number of accidents the number of burn victims and those traumas really are our highest usage our highest volume needs. So we are walking a really fine line and we really encourage people to come in and donate during the summer.”

NCMC needs at least fifty people to give blood each day in or meet supply needs at their facility in Greeley along with the their sister hospitals in Loveland, Brush and Sterling. Andrea Linn is here today because blood donors took time out of their day to give.

“I understand that it’s hard to make that time to do, but I encouraged people to put it on the calendar and just do it. I know for myself you get busy with kid’s activities with life activities and if you just put it on the calendar it gets done. This is really important it really does save lives. It really does make a difference. It gave my kids their mom back and my husband his wife.”

Mark your calendar for the United Way of Weld County and KUNC's second annual community blood drivescheduled for this Thursday, June 28 from 8 till 2 at KUNC studios in Greeley.

My journalism career started in college when I worked as a reporter and Weekend Edition host for WEKU-FM, an NPR member station in Richmond, KY. I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.A. in broadcast journalism.
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