John Jedrzejek was just 17-years-old when he gave blood for the first time. He had no way of knowing that blood donations would help save the lives of his future son and granddaughter.
(l-r) family friend Lisa Watkins, and Flo, Sophia and John Jedrzejek celebrate Sophia's birthday.
Photo credit: Provided by the Jedrzejek family.
His oldest son, born prematurely, needed massive blood transfusions. Thanks to the generosity of strangers, blood was available and John and Flo Jedrzejeks’ son survived.
Years later, the Jedrzejeks’ granddaughter, Sophia, was also born prematurely. Her tiny body’s bone marrow was not yet making platelets, the part of blood that helps it to clot. Transfusions of platelets provided by volunteer donors helped save Sophia’s life.
Unlike units of whole blood, platelets are collected through a process called apheresis. A donor’s blood is passed through a device that separates out the platelets, and returns the remainder of the blood to that individual.
The Jedrzejeks were donating platelets long before they were needed by Sophia in 2007. The Red Cross Blood Services Region in the area where the Jedrzejeks live began collecting platelets in 1978. John, already a regular blood donor, was one of the area’s nine original platelet donors. Flo eventually followed, making her first platelet donation in 1993. When Flo and John learned that they qualified to become pediatric platelet donors, they jumped at the opportunity.
“Sophia is a miracle,” says Grandmother Flo Jedrzejek. And because of that miracle, the Jedrzejeks donate platelets as often as they can—up to the maximum allowed—24 times a year. Together they have given nearly 700 platelet donations.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; 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 mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.