Below are some reflections by Larry Frederick, a retired Oakland Police officer, who was in a near-fatal accident in 1982. Since his recovery, he has done four cross country tours on his bicycle to raise awareness of the need for blood donations. He shared his story at one of our recent events and before meeting him in person, I knew just the type of person we had coming to speak. After searching for a picture we could use of him from his Facebook page , I realized I couldn’t find one where he didn’t have a huge grin, big eyes, and two thumbs up. Thank you, Larry, for your vibrance and enthusiasm!
It’s already a new year. What a great time for me, a blood recipient of 110 units, to reflect on my second chance at life and why I have been expressing an “attitude of gratitude” for blood donors and blood center staff, throughout the U.S., since my accident in 1982.
Stanford Blood Center donors we all know you have been donating blood a long time for someone out there somewhere, who some time will need blood. I’m stepping forward to tell you that my story is proof positive that giving blood works. It really saves lives and families!
Here’s a special thank you to all the staff, volunteers and donors. Thank you for the incredible job you do daily to provide a safe and available blood supply in the Stanford community and throughout the Bay Area.
A special tribute also goes to the blood center staff who I affectionately call “the lab people”. They are incredible. They may not enjoy the spotlight, but they are some of the most reliable and dependable staff within the organization. They really understand the overall “why” of blood donations. These are the staff who not only get it they get it right! These are the staff that cross-match, test, package, distribute, deliver, and handle with care the “gift of life” all the way to the intended recipient!
Although less than five percent of the population donates blood, in my heart, blood donors are the top five percent of our society, the 95th percentile; they are the ones that provide “the gift of life” for the other 95 percent of society. They are real heroes, because they help save lives every time they donate blood. Yes, they are all amazing, generous, kind, giving people willing to share their blood and time to help save their fellowmen.
In my life, it’s not the destination that’s been incredible it’s been the journey! It wasn’t the bike. It wasn’t the route or the distance. It wasn’t the new blood center buildings. It wasn’t the new blood machines, etc. IT WAS THE PEOPLE THAT I MET ALONG THE WAY!
I’m alive today because of 110 anonymous donors. I did not know them. I will never know them. Yet each time I thank a current donor it’s just like I was thanking one of them!
My message is not just about blood. It’s about my second chance at life. My memories with family and friends. It couldn’t have happened without blood donors. For me personally, it’s been an extra 28 years with positive memories, new friends, giving back, thanking donors, and watching my family grow up.
My family and I are very grateful to each donor and we want them to know that giving blood saves not only lives, it saves FAMILIES! I have three daughters who wouldn’t be alive today if donors hadn’t saved their Daddy’s life; their names are Amy, Adella and Amber.
Finally, it’s NOT about me. Yes, it’s my story, but it’s not about me and it never has been! It’s about you, your children, your grandchildren, your friends, and your community. It’s about “passing the torch” to the younger generation. It’s about having a safe, available blood supply.
Speaking on behalf of recipients everywhere, I want to echo the words of Jenny Eller, a Fresno, CA, leukemia patient who died in 1995 after a valiant four-year struggle. “Thank you for letting us live!”
Larry J. Frederick, Surviving Blood Recipient
“Giving blood is the one gift that truly comes from your heart!”
“Thank you for the Extra 28 years.”