Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

World Blood Donor Day: How a Donor Saved My Preemie


I never imagined that a complete stranger – five complete strangers, actually – would save my son’s life.

Today, June 14, is World Blood Donor Day. Worldwide, there are 107 million blood donations every year. That’s a big number and I think a lot of us say, “Wow,” but we rarely take time to think about what that really means. Let me show you.

THIS. This is what a blood donor saved. My heart. May I introduce my son, Luke?luke bday, blog_029

He was born premature, severely growth-restricted and weighed a little more than three pounds at birth. On day nine he developed a nasty intestinal infection which quickly became grave. His heart stopped, then restarted and he was emergency transported to the local children’s hospital for emergency surgery. A few hours post-op, during his most critical week in the NICU, he received two blood transfusions. 

I was terrified he might not make it.

Fast forward three months and after another scheduled surgery, his blood levels tanked. It took two more blood transfusions to get him back to baseline. It wasn’t until his next scheduled surgery four months later, when his blood levels tanked again and he received yet another transfusion, that we realized he had a severe blood allergy to a cocktail of antibiotics.

If not for that discovery and five life-saving transfusions our home wouldn’t be brightened with his life.

To every person who’s ever donated, to every person who’s ever thought, “I wonder if my donation even matters,” I am here to tell you this:

It matters. You matter. Your blood saves lives. Please don’t stop donating.

To learn more about blood donation

Visit the World Health Organization website

Find your local blood bank at the AABB website – there’s never a bad time to donate blood!

Kathryn Whitaker About Kathryn Whitaker

Kathryn Whitaker (TX) is the mother of six (including two 36-week preemies).  Her fifth child was diagnosed with IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction), born at 3lbs. 9oz. and then developed a severe surgical case of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).  He has various medical needs as a direct, and indirect, result.  On her personal blog, Team Whitaker, she writes about what she knows: big families, carpool, kids activities, faith, her beloved Aggies, specialist appointments and sanity checks with her husband.  You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.


  1. I totally agree! One of my twins was very very sick when he was born on top if being a 28 week baby. He received blood a few hours after he was born and received to many blood and platlet transfusions to count. Without someone’s generous donation, he may have not made it. I try my hardest to give blood every quarter, because you never know how many lives you can save with one donation.


  1. […] Today is World Blood Donor Day. If you want to know why that’s such a big deal at our house, you may want to visit this website where I share our blood donation story. […]

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