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Release of Likeness

When Nick needed weekly blood transfusions to survive, thousands of donors made sure he had the blood he needed to triumph over his disease, graduate from a Northland high school, and head off to college.

Recipients are very aware of the generosity and selflessness of the donors behind each unit of life-saving blood they receive. For 20-something Nick Pascuzzi, the number of people who helped save his life goes well into the thousands.

In 2002, Nick was facing invasive sinus surgery in a final effort to address an ongoing illness. “From a young age, I always had sinus and ear infections, spending eight or nine months of the year sick. Nobody questioned it until I was seen at the Mayo Clinic,” he recalled. During a week-long battery of tests, an immunologist finally identified Nick’s disease. “I had an immune deficiency disease called hypogammaglobulinemia,” he explains, “which meant that my immune system needed replacement protein collected from donor plasma. The challenge was that 10,000 units of plasma were required to make just one dose for me.” And since Nick was receiving weekly infusions for over four years, the total number of donors and units of collected blood is staggering.

He was ordered to stay out of school for three months to give his system a chance to clear any lingering illnesses. At the same time, he began treatment in hopes of rebuilding his immune system.

Today Nick is managing life day-to-day without the need for transfusions. Now in his third year at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, he is still monitored by the Mayo Clinic but has been healthy for several years and is happy to be free from treatments. In fact, Nick’s adventures farming in Italy during the summer of 2009 give testament to the quality of life he is able to enjoy, thanks to thousands of generous blood donors! Nick is an advocate of blood donation and Memorial Blood Centers. “I encourage my friends to give blood, and everyone says, ‘Wow—this feels great.’”

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