Husband Starts Giving Blood After Wife’s Life-sustaining Transfusions

PJ Johnson/Red Cross Cascades

David Buckingham is grateful to the American Red Cross for supplying blood and platelets to his wife Penny when she developed a rare illness after a three-year battle with cancer.

Penny was born on January 28, 1959. She worked for the Wilimina School District for 18 years.  In 2014, she was diagnosed with Stage Four Thymoma (cancer of the Thymus) and was forced to quit work. Thymoma is a rare cancer that is commonly treated with surgery. Penny underwent chemo followed by debunking surgery in August 2014. Two years later she had radiation therapy. Unfortunately, she developed PRCA (Pure Red Cell Aplasia) in 2017 and required two units of blood cells weekly.  The transfusions took place at Willamette Valley Medical Center in McMinnville and were supplied by donations to the American Red Cross.  Two years later she required platelet transfusions as well.  Penny eventually succumbed to her illness in February of 2022 at age 69.

David considers her to be lucky to live in the United States where there is ready access to blood and platelets.  He is thankful to the American Red Cross and its donors for prolonging her life and allowing them over 30 years of marriage and time together.  

He wanted to do something to thank the Red Cross. So, despite his dislike for needles, he started donating blood at the local VFW and school blood drives. He also commutes to Salem and donates platelets, 45 minutes away from his home in Sheridan.  He hopes to continue for as long as he can. 

Thank you, David.  At a time when you are grieving, the American Red Cross appreciates your thoughtful contribution to others. 

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

Through our national inventory system, the Red Cross has the ability to move blood around the country to wherever and whenever it is needed most. With the help of volunteer donors, the Red Cross stands ready to provide blood and blood products as needed in response to these ongoing emergencies both large and small.

Visit to make your appointment to donate. A single blood donation can save more than one life. Don’t wait. Be a lifesaver today!