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Release of Likeness

"By taking just minutes out of your day, you are giving someone more years." -Jennifer Klein

Jennifer Klein, blood recipientWhen Jennifer Klein showed up for another round of chemotherapy to continue fighting her breast cancer, she was surprised with instructions to go to the hospital for an immediate blood transfusion. Her hemoglobin level—the proteins that transport oxygen in the blood stream—had dropped to 8.7. The normal range for women is 12-15.

“I felt run down and slow, and I could hear my heart beating in my ears all the time, even when trying to sleep. I thought it was just part of the treatment,” Jennifer said. “I never imagined I would need a blood transfusion. I always associated receiving blood with a tragic accident or an injury.”
Klein was diagnosed with bilateral tumors. Over the course of her year-long cancer battle, she needed two blood transfusions and one platelet transfusion.

“The thing about chemo is that it doesn’t only impact the cancer cells; it impacts everything—red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets. Everything just gets depleted,” Jennifer said. “I got to the point not once, but twice where my body was so worn out that I couldn’t receive chemotherapy and I had to spend 6 or 7 hours at the hospital receiving a blood transfusion instead. They needed my body to recover enough to continue the necessary treatment to kill the cancer.”

Having blood available at her local hospital was vital to staying on top of the cancer—and ultimately beating it.
“Luckily for me, there was blood on hand, and I didn’t have to wait for the next day or the next week. I was simply able to get it and go, and there was no further delay in my treatment.”

In total, Jennifer completed 20 weeks of chemotherapy, underwent a four-hour procedure that included a port removal, sentinel node biopsy, double mastectomy, immediate one-step reconstruction, and 33 sessions of radiation. By the end of that year, she was finally cancer free.

“When you donate blood, it is not a matter of if someone will need it, but when,” Jennifer said. “By taking just minutes out of your day, you are giving someone more years. I am so grateful for the people in this community who donate blood. It simply never occurred to me that I might need a blood transfusion in my life. Learning that it took three to five donors to supply me with the amount of platelets and blood I needed was surprising. Even more astonishing is that we are relying upon the generosity of strangers for these life-saving donations.”