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Ocala, Florida

We were blessed with the birth of our first son forty-four years ago. He appeared to be a very healthy boy at first, but within five hours, the pediatrician detected a very serious heart condition called transposition of the great vessels. Let me explain what transposition of the great vessels is, as it was explained to me. 

It means that his heart had two closed loops of circulation, meaning the heart pumped to his lungs, then back to his heart, then back to his lungs again instead to the rest of his body. 


Therefore no oxygen was being circulated to his body. He was slowly turning blue for the lack of oxygen, and would die in 24 to 48 hours after birth.

Following the doctor’s advice, I drove my son to Shand’s Hospital, two hours away, in a portable incubator. Later the next day, they performed open heart surgery on the little 8 pound child. During the successful surgery he used 19 units of blood! Wow! That meant that 19 people who I will never know donated their blood and as a result, my baby would live!

The doctors had cut a small hole in the two lower chambers of his heart so the oxygen would mix within the heart itself then be sent to the rest of his body. He lived like that for two years until he was bigger and better able to handle another open heart surgery. Then they closed the hole in his heart and re-positioned the returning blood vessels to his heart. So to this day, his heart is backwards in that the weak side of his heart pumps to his body and the strong side to the lungs.

My son is now a successful married man with his own son, my grandson! I will forever be grateful for the doctors of course, but I am extremely grateful for the 19 blood donors for saving my son's life, even though they didn't know us or that they had saved my son. I dedicated myself to donate my rare blood (AB+) as many times as possible during my life as long as I am able to do so. So far, this 71 year old man has been able to donate over 26 gallons. I trust that I have helped save many lives by so doing.

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