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Change a Life Finalist Benjamin Ottum
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Mary Etta Boesl
April 9, 2009

Benjamin Ottum and his wife, Carrie, live in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. Ben is a loan officer at a bank in nearby Oshkosh and Carrie runs the recreational programs for the Fond Du Lac School District. Their life together mirrors millions of ordinary couples’ lives across the country. But it is anything but ordinary.

Dozens of generous blood donors have made it possible for Carrie and Ben to be together. Following a severe car accident, Carrie underwent brain surgery, requiring several blood transfusions. Ben, a leukemia survivor, also received multiple blood transfusions during his treatment for the disease. “My wife and I are able to cherish our second chance together because of blood donors,” he wrote.

Ben looks forward to having the opportunity to donate blood soon and returning the favor. He is excited to be able to honor blood donors by becoming one himself.

Today, the Ottums lead very active lives and Ben will soon be participating in a marathon and a half-marathon. After all they’ve gone through; Ben and Carrie make it a point to enjoy each and every day together.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.

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