Local teen-ager truly knows blood is the 'gift of life'

"By giving blood, a donor helps replenish a community resource used by a neighbor, relative or friend."

United Blood Services reminds people of this fact whenever it sponsors a drive in Prescott or Prescott Valley.

And Courtney Johnson of Prescott is here to attest to the truth of that statement only because of plasma that United Blood Services provided to her.

Last year on Sept. 15 the 17-year-old was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale diagnosed with a very rare blood disease.

"She was in ICU for eight days, and her heart stopped beating on Sept. 19," said her mother, Wendy Stazenski. "We thought we had lost her. But the doctors brought her back.."

Johnson received blood treatments twice a day while she was in the ICU, and a total of 35 treatments before doctors determined that the blood disease was in remission.

"When all this happened, United Blood Services was right there," her mother said. "They brought the equipment and plasma she needed to her bedside at Mayo. They were so wonderful. They gave life back to my daughter."

The now 18-year-old is home in Prescott, working at a new job, and hoping that after her monthly visit to Mayo next week she will need only infrequent check-ups.

"We want to thank United Blood Services, and do something to repay them for all the blood I used," Johnson said. "I had 35 treatments and needed from 12 to 20 bags for each treatment, and they were always there when I needed them."

She hopes people in the tri-city area will make time during United Blood Services' Oct. 8-12 drive here to donate blood. Johnson knows, from personal experience, that it can mean the difference between life and death.

Only when a significant number of people donate on a regular basis can a community maintain adequate blood supplies. If everyone waited for an emergency before donating, lives could be in jeopardy.

Blood components are perishable, so United Blood Services needs new supplies consistently. United Blood Services supplies 92 percent of the blood used in Arizona. It hopes to collect 587 pints during the five-day drive here.

Donating blood is safe, and simple. The process takes about 40 minutes. Potential blood donors must be 17 or older, weigh more than 110 pounds and be in good health. Donors older than 79 are welcome to give blood – UBS has removed the age restriction. The tri-city blood drives will be Oct. 8 through 12, at nine locations.

To make your donation appointment, or for more information, call YRMC at 772-9328, VA at 776-6013, Prescott Police at 771-5800 or Yavapai College at 776-2251.

Schedule your blood donation at one of the following places and dates:

• Sacred Heart School, 131 N. Summit Ave., school gym, Sunday, noon to 5:30 p.m. Call Mary Sites at 708-0012.

• Prescott Valley United Methodist Church, 8944 Sommer Drive, Fellowship Hall, Monday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call Lola Muñoz at 772-1836.

• Yavapai College, 100 Sheldon Ave. Monday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Contact the nursing department at 776-2251.

• Prescott High School, shop room 65 for students and staff only, Tuesday, 7:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Contact Bill King.

• Yavapai Regional Medical Center, 1003 Willow Creek Road, Thumb Butte Room, Tuesday, 1 to 7:30 p.m. Call Stephanie Fricke at 772-9328.

• Yavapai Regional Medical Center, 1003 Willow Creek Road, Thumb Butte Room, Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Call Stephanie Fricke at 772-9328.

• VA Medical Center, 500 N. Highway 89, Theater Building 15, Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call Voluntary Services at 776-6013.

• Embry-Riddle, 3200 N. Willow Creek, old gym, Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call Air Force ROTC at 708-3868.

• Prescott Police Department, 222 E. Marina, Training Room, Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call Trudy Fotiades at 771-5800.