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Release of Likeness

“We really believe in paying it forward.” Debra and Jack are together today because generous volunteers donated blood.

Debra was six months pregnant with Jack when she developed placenta previa and started hemorrhaging. Several blood transfusions finally stabilized her condition but she remained hospitalized for a month until an emergency C-section brought Jack into her life.

Jack was born two and a half months early, extremely compromised with lungs that had not yet fully developed. Debra suffered complications as well, receiving more blood transfusions. A full week passed before Debra was able to see or hold baby Jack.

After 45 days in intensive care as a very sick infant, Jack recovered and today is an energetic, happy little boy. One would never guess he was born in such a delicate condition. Debra remembers with a laugh how his older sister Grace, who loves to take care of him, used to say that “Jack came out early because he couldn’t wait to be a part of our family!”

Jack is indeed lucky to have joined his family and that his mother’s life was saved after his birth. After a second surgery, Debra developed anemia and tested with an extremely low platelet count―only a fraction of the normal 150,000 – 450,000 count. If Debra were to have bled for any reason, her body would have been incapable of clotting. Fortunately, Debra received a total of 12 platelet transfusions that restored her to good health—thanks to the generosity of donors who made platelets available when she needed it most.

“We really believe in paying it forward,” explains Debra. She tells of how her father, Thomas Johnson, has given blood regularly for years. She is also proud that her husband, Daniel, donated blood for the first time at the Extreme Makeover-Home Edition event in which Memorial Blood Centers participated as a designated nonprofit partner in 2009. Debra says proudly, “Daniel plans to continue donating.”