Patient Stories

Can You Help End Childhood Cancer?

Every year, 15,780 children in the United States are diagnosed with cancer. In fact, according to Children’s Cancer Research Fund, each day, 43 families in the United States will hear that their child has cancer. That’s why we observe September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – to increase awareness for types of cancer that affect…

Celebrating Mothers Touched by Blood Donation

Mother’s Day was this past weekend, and we hope you enjoyed your time with the mothers in your life! Although the day may have passed, we want to continue to appreciate moms all over by taking a moment to celebrate some of the mothers touched by blood donation that we have had the privilege to get…

Mohan’s Story: “A Change of Heart”

Mr. Manmohan (Mohan) Mahal claims it has taken him over twenty years to understand his “journey.” It is because of this journey that he is now driven to give back to the world and inspire others. But first, he needed a change of heart. Born in Amritsar, India, Mohan lived most of his life in New Delhi and…

The Kindness of Strangers: Robin Beresford’s Patient Story

Robin Beresford has many goals, most of which surround helping others. She is a former nurse, a licensed physician’s assistant, a marriage and family therapist, and is in the process of completing her PhD in Depth Psychology. So several years ago it came as a shock when Robin was the one who needed help. This…

A Mother’s Worst Nightmare: Alisha’s Experience with Placenta Accreta

The placenta is an organ essential to nourishing a baby in utero. But for 1 in 333 pregnant women, it can cause a life-threatening complication, placenta accreta, that could lead to fatal hemorrhaging during delivery… as was the case for Alisha Keller-Berry. 19 weeks into her second pregnancy, Alisha received some troubling news. During a…

Kelvin Yu — His Second Life

Kelvin Yu thought it was just an ordinary day. He went to his job as a Project Manager at Kaiser Engineers, left his office, and set out for a lunchtime walk around Lake Merritt. He had no idea that within hours, he would end up in the ICU. He had no idea that this was…

Heart to Heart – From Heart Transplant To Living Life With Purpose 

The adventure began soon after their meeting. Carmela and Eric Gries met in 1984 while attending college. Not long after they met and became a couple, they decided to take a year off from school to drive across the country and back. They’ve now been married for 31 years, have three beautiful children, and are…

Magdalena’s Story—Coming Full Circle

Magdalena Cabrera knows what it’s like to be on both sides of the equation. She began donating blood with Stanford Blood Center in 1980. She did so knowing the importance of donating blood products when suddenly the tables turned in May 2013 when she was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer called Mucosal…

Austin, Brave and Strong

As girls growing up in Menlo Park, Betsy McBride and her sister used to accompany their father when he donated blood at Stanford Blood Center (SBC). Betsy took the habit to heart, continuing to donate for SBC when she could. But until August 26, she had no idea how much blood donors would one day…

Young Heart Beats The Odds—Galen Dahl’s Story

Galen “G” Dahl, 13, is much like any other 7th grader. He loves skiing, math, jumping on his trampoline, video games and his dog, Flash. He is a self-confessed Harry Potter fanatic who enjoys hanging out with his buddies. One would never know just by looking at him that underneath the shirt he wore to…

Young Love Prevails

By Kristin Stankus, digital community and social media specialist         Kendralyn and Cole Morley knew from an early age that they wanted to spend their lives together. Now, 24 years old, Kendralyn and Cole have been friends since they were seven. Both grew up with a passion for hockey and played on…

A Bone Marrow Transplant and a New Lease on Life

In 2013, Michael, a recent high school graduate, was excited to start the next chapter in his life. He had applied to a trade school and looked forward to pursuing a career in welding when he came down with what he thought was a bad cold. Unfortunately, it turned out to be much more severe…

Never Give Up Without a Fight

Susan attended this year’s Bone Marrow Transplant Reunion where she approached Stanford Blood Center’s information table and asked if she could share her story of survival with blood donors through SBC’s patient stories program. Susan’s story is one of incredible challenges and her will to overcome them. She is a 25-year survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma…

Placenta Accreta: A Life-Threatening Attachment

There have been many great advances in medicine over the last few decades. Patients can take comfort in the fact that doctors have more information available to them now than ever before, resulting in an improved quality of patient care. Despite these advances, devastating conditions still occur, and some remain very difficult to treat. One…

Call Her a Thriver, Not a Survivor

Jen Julian, 57, might be the most active person you will ever meet. She golfs, skis, bikes, boats, scuba dives and regularly makes good use of her newly granted pilot’s license. She is without a doubt the epitome of what life can be when given a second chance. Jen was first diagnosed with interstitial lung…

The Road to Recovery

Motorcycle enthusiast Ryan Roberts usually did not ride his motorcycle to his job at Stanford Video. But back in 2004, the Fourth of July fell on a Sunday, and he was supposed to have that Monday off from work. He got called in last minute and was only going to be there for a little while, and…

A New Liver, a New Lease on Life for Little Alma

On June 10, 2014, after a long and complicated labor, baby Alma’s journey began. Her entrance into the world was not an easy one. Nearing the end of mother Amy’s pregnancy, doctors expressed concerns that the baby had stopped growing and determined that labor should be induced. A Pitocin IV drip was started but Alma…

Transplant Recipient Inspires Daughters to Give Thanks, Give Back

On March 14, Luis Navarro’s daughters carefully took off his blindfold to reveal 50 of his closest friends and family. They were gathered for a surprise birthday party and blood drive to celebrate his 56th birthday. The surprise element wasn’t the only thing that made this birthday memorable: Luis and his family were also celebrating…

Beating the Odds: A Little Girl’s Struggle with a Rare Blood Disorder

Aria is a lively 17-month-old with an infectious smile. One would never guess that she was born an anemic preemie who spent the first month of her life in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH). The odds were stacked against Aria from the beginning, given her mother’s complications with the…

Patient Updates

At Stanford Blood Center, part of our mission is to connect donors with patients and we enjoy sharing stories and messages of gratitude from blood recipients. Do you ever wonder how those patients are doing today? We’re happy to be able to share updates from three amazing young recipients. Brennah was seven years old when…

Jk3-Negative Blood: An Elusive Elixir

Timena, whose name means ‘beautiful,’ in her native language, Samoan, is embarking on a mission to match her name. She wants to help ensure that the next time someone with her unusual blood type needs a transfusion, a donor will be ready. As a child, Timena was a sporty and energetic soccer devotee. But by age…

Daughter’s illness motivates family to help community

By Julie Peachey In November 2000, Dawn Billman, her husband, George, and their three young daughters were looking forward to a Thanksgiving weekend full of feasts, visits from out-of-town family, and a birthday celebration for grandma. But the day before the big holiday, Dawn received an unexpected call from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH). It…

Mending Hearts

Chris’s yearly family trip to Disneyland in February of 2012 took him far from the happiest place on earth as he found himself, instead, in the hospital. After experiencing nausea, shortness of breath, and difficulty walking distances, Chris was eventually diagnosed with an enlarged heart, which was pumping at 13%. He was soon transferred to…

The Beat Goes On

By Deanna Bolio, Communications Specialist, Stanford Blood Center Lexi loves to dance. From hip-hop to ballet, she loves it so much that she might take up to 13 dance classes in a week. The ongoing blood transfusions Lexi receives to treat sickle cell anemia give her the energy she needs to leap, turn, and spin…

Stanford Blood Center Donors Helped Save Taylor’s Life

By Winter Johnson, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Michele Hyndman, Stanford Blood Center A month before her 14th birthday in November 2011, Taylor was enjoying a normal teenage life in Watsonville, Calif., when she was hit with sudden, flu-like symptoms that turned into vomiting blood. She was rushed to a local hospital and then taken by ambulance to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital,…

“Blood Donors Saved My Life”

On June 6, 2011, Melissa and her husband, Tim, and 3-year-old son, Flynn, welcomed twin boys, Keane and Hayes, into their family. Melissa’s pregnancy and delivery had been normal. The twins were healthy and together weighed over 14 pounds which is considered big for twins. After a typical recovery period, Melissa went home to care for her family. “To me, my family was perfect and complete,” she said.

Casey’s Rocky Start

Casey Rockey was born with supravalvular aortic stenosis, a rare heart condition that causes a narrowing of his aortic valve at the opening. He required beta blockers for a year to manage his stenosis and tachycardia and, at age three and a half, it was time for open-heart surgery.

But I Was in Such a Good Mood This Morning!

In 1989, just six months after marrying my young bride, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. My wife and I were thrust into the world of cancer, and we watched our hopes and dreams shatter in an instant. At twenty-six years of age, I was told by doctors at the City of Hope National Medical Center that my prognosis was “poor.” But after nearly a year and a half of intensive chemotherapy, brain radiation, bone marrow biopsies and countless other procedures, I emerged on the other side of my disease, in remission and thankful for the blessing of each new day.

I’d Rather Be in the Bahamas

As Jennifer Flowers sat in a hospital bed on January 8, 2010, she would have much rather been on a beach on one of the tropical islands she preferred to frequent. Walking through the surf on a sandy beach in Hawaii, the Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua, Bermuda, or Jamaica during one of her vacations was her idea of living. But that day, she was receiving a bone marrow transplant at Stanford Hospital that would keep her alive.

Life, Interrupted

Mike Wu was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) in January, 2003, after complain- ing to his doctor about persistent abdominal pain. It was one week before his wed- ding. He began taking a laundry list of prescribed medications that compromised his immune system; he lost about 30 pounds. He and his fiance, Jennifer, postponed the wedding so Mike could get better.

Magnificent Maddie

Pulmonary hypertension, overriding aorta, and pulmonary atresia are a few of the health obstacles in little Maddie’s life. She has undergone 11 procedures, including three open-heart surgeries, to correct her cardiovascular defects and has received the lifesaving gift of blood with each of her surgeries.

Survival Story

I will never forget how stunned I was when I got an email from Karen on March 5, 2009 to announce her son‘s arrival. It started “Quinn Frederick Bossow was born on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, he is in extremely critical condition at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.” I immediately visited the blog she had created to keep family and friends updated on his condition.