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Release of Likeness

A mother’s dedication as a loyal O-negative blood donor—and her subsequent 10-month battle against cancer—leaves a rich legacy for her daughter who now donates regularly to give back in her honor.

Kelley Danielson’s mom knew how rare and life-saving her universal O-negative blood type could be to anyone in need, from premature infants to accident victims. That’s why she donated regularly, right up until she was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer—the type of lung cancer that grows rapidly and spreads quickly.

From the moment Kelley’s mom received the diagnosis, the long and difficult journey began: five rounds of chemotherapy and 53 sessions of radiation. “My mom’s treatments really took a toll on her body, especially her hemoglobin counts,” Kelley remembers. “Fortunately, I was able to spend a lot of time with her and came to know when it was time to take her in to have her hemoglobin checked. The nurse would tell us she needed a blood transfusion, and off we’d go. After what we liked to call ‘getting a tune-up’, she would feel 100% better. Never did we think she would need a blood transfusion, much less three in all before her 10-month cancer journey was over. But those transfusions helped sustain her life.”

Kelley admits that, without much thought, she knew the blood her mom so desperately needed would be there—thanks to all the blood donors who generously give. In fact, according to Kelley, “Had it not been for the countless blood donors who so selflessly made sure blood was available, my mom's journey would not have lasted 10 months. I would have had to say good-bye to her much sooner.”

Now, Kelley lives up to the vow she made to her mom, to honor her memory and be a regular blood donor—loyally participating at her company’s sponsored blood drives or making a double red cell donation at a local Memorial Blood Centers donor center. In fact, she’s on her way to Gallon #2! “I’ve always felt that it's an honor to be able to donate because giving blood is the right thing to do,” she said. “I would encourage others to please take an hour of your day and give. It's a very rewarding experience. And your blood donation truly makes a difference when people, like my mother, need it to save or sustain their life.

Find out more about how you can help save the lives of infants, children, and adults through blood donation. Learn more at About Blood.