Nancy Husselman of Artesia said blood donations from strangers saved her life when she was injured in a head-on crash between Cloudcroft and Alamogordo in 1969.
Husselman said an artery in her face was cut and she was bleeding heavily when emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene.
“When I got to the hospital I pretty much bled out. The doctor said I might have had a little bit left in my little toe and they couldn’t find a heartbeat, which caused a heart murmur,” Husselman said.
Doctors pumped blood into her body for three days.
“Had I been (in the hospital) minutes later I wouldn’t certainly be here telling you this story,” she said.
Husselman said donated blood extended her life, one filled with a 40-year marriage, two children, nearly 10 grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
“I owe my life to whoever donated the blood in the first place,” she said.
Hussleman is one of millions of Americans whose lives were saved because of the availability of donated blood. But Stephanie Seabreese, senior account manager with Vitalant Blood Donation services in Roswell, said current shortages in blood donations are imperiling lives.
Blood shortage critical during summer months
Seabreese said blood donations generally fall during the four-month summer period as students are on break from high school and college and family’s vacation.
Seabreese said donations from younger people accounted for 10 percent of the nation’s blood supply.
“In the summer those kiddos are gone and they’re not donating blood like they do. Even regular donors are likely not to be available than they normally are. Summer is just a very active time for people to take vacations and do different things,” she said.
According to Vitalant’s website, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood.
“All blood types and platelets are critically needed, especially type O blood, the most transfused and the most versatile when there’s not time to test a patient’s blood type,” stated a Vitalant news release.
During the summer months, Seabreese said law enforcement and firefighters shore up blood supplies with The Battle of the Badges, a competition among firefighting and law enforcement agencies which began nearly 12 years ago in Albuquerque. Battle of the Badges was established after a police officer was shot and blood was needed to save the officer’s life.
She said 81 eligible blood donors participated in the two-day Battle of the Badges in Carlsbad July 19 and 20.
“This is our big event here in New Mexico for the summer and the impact it has is incredible,” Seabreese said.
“At the drives so far, we have seen 245 eligible donors. We are expecting to add approximately 100 more during the next two days in Clovis.”
Anyone interested in setting up a blood drive with Vitalant may contact Seabreese at 575-840-8178.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter