GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two weeks ago, Michigan hospitals put out the alert: They were facing a shortage of blood. Spectrum Health employees responded in force.
During a 10-day period, they accounted for 10% of all blood donations in the state.
The call to end the shortage was especially close to the heart of one registered nurse because blood is key to his daughter’s fight for life.
A registered nurse at Spectrum Health, Aaron Lockwood specializes in orthopedic and neurosurgery. He’s always known how important it is to have blood on hand to save lives during surgeries.
“I knew the importance of it. I didn’t know the importance of actually giving it,” Lockwood said.
It became real to him two months ago, when his daughter received a diagnosis that set her up for the fight of her life.
“Her name is Madison Lockwood. She’s a 10-year-old girl who was a healthy girl up until it was Nov. 20 that she was diagnosed with leukemia,” Lockwood said.
Maddie spent nearly four weeks at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. She still goes back multiple times per week for chemotherapy and blood transfusions.
It was during one of those transfusions that Spectrum Health put out the call for blood donors. Lockwood rolled up his sleeve.
It was an incredible turnout for Spectrum employees: nearly 475 total units of blood donated, including from more than 100 first-time donors.
It’s a call Lockwood hopes more and more people will answer.
“Just think of it as your family member being one traumatic event or one disease away from needing a blood transfusion,” Lockwood said. “I am a blood donor for life.”
He is now working to arrange a blood drive in his hometown of Caledonia.
More than 1,100 additional units of blood were collected in a week during the shortage. A spokesperson for Versiti Blood Centers of Michigan says the group is nearly back to a healthy inventory, though it is still low on O-positive.
Donors can go to Versiti.org to find out where to donate or schedule an appointment.