Blood Loss During Pregnancy Leads Oregon Mom to Give Back in Inspiring Ways

Story by Colleen Hathaway / Red Cross Cascades Region

Recently, at the end of a workday, I spent some time rescheduling meetings due to the snow we’ve had and the subsequent power and internet outages in the area, then I called Rosa, the mother of twin boys, now 12-years-old.  

Rosa with her two sons in February 2021. Photo submitted to Red Cross Cascades Region.

My reason for calling was to ask about her Red Cross story, with the sound of ice dripping off my roof in the background.  

A few days before, I had taken my own son to the park to go sledding.  He is close in age to her boys, and I thought about that as I listened to Rosa.

When Rosa was pregnant, she was suffering from a pregnancy complication that can be life-threatening for the mother and baby.  

Luckily, although premature by four weeks, her boys were born healthy.  But Rosa lost a dangerous amount of blood due to issues with healing.  In fact, she says she lost nearly half her blood; her nurse went white with shock upon discovering this, Rosa said.  

Fortunately, Rosa underwent emergency surgery and was given life-saving blood from the American Red Cross.

In the last three years, Rosa has helped coordinate a location for the Red Cross to hold at least nine blood drives, her way of giving back and helping the community.  

What would happen, she wondered, if there wasn’t a coordinated effort to hold blood drives?  I asked her what words come to mind when she thinks of the Red Cross. 

“Giving life,” she said. “Help.”

I told her that some might consider her a leader or a hero, but Rosa was reluctant to embrace those descriptions.

“Heroes run into burning buildings.  I’m just doing what I can to give back.” Rosa told me that people often think “someone else” will donate. She hopes more people, if they are healthy, will step forward and donate. 

“It’s a good feeling that you may be helping someone–saving someone. I don’t want to be the person who says, ‘I wish I would have.’” 

Blood drives can save hundreds of lives. Everybody wins when patients receive life-saving blood, your organization builds goodwill, and you show leadership in bringing volunteers and donors together for a good cause. 

Are you interested in helping to coordinate or host a blood drive? Find out more here!