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Blood donors save Star Prairie man's life

Star Prairie resident Steve Hanson knows just how important it is to have a stable blood supply available.

In September 2012, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of cancer that develops in the bone marrow and quickly moves into the blood. He was immediately admitted to Regions Hospital where he received chemotherapy treatments and many blood and platelet transfusions during his 32-day stay.

"It's the blood on the shelf that helped save Steve's life. You just never know when you are going to be the one in need of blood and we are so grateful that it was there when he needed it," said Laura Hanson, Steve's wife.

Hanson's follow-up treatment included four chemotherapy treatments at Regions Hospital, each requiring a six-day stay. Between chemo treatments, the doctors and nurses at New Richmond Cancer Center closely monitored his blood levels and he received additional blood transfusions when needed.

"The AML diagnosis was absolutely life changing, but the care he received, the medication, and the blood donated by so many, truly saved his life," Laura said. "Within an hour of Steve receiving a blood transfusion, you could tell his body was getting what it needed. After seven months of treatment, we are happy to report that Steve is doing well."

"We are thankful to all the blood donors that helped make Steve's recovery possible. We encourage all eligible donors to roll up a sleeve because there is someone out there who needs it. Every pint can make a huge difference for patients in need of lifesaving blood products."

Nationwide, donations through the Red Cross were down approximately 10 percent in June, resulting in about 50,000 fewer donations than expected. June can be among the most challenging months of the year for blood and platelet donations as regular donors delay giving while they adjust to summer schedules.

High school and college blood drives account for as much as 20 percent of Red Cross donations during the school year. Donations from those who usually give at these drives drop by more than 80 percent when school is out for the summer.

In addition, a mid-week Independence Day holiday reduced the number of blood drives scheduled in early July. Many sponsors, especially businesses, were unable to host drives because employees took extended vacations.

The Red Cross urgently needs donations to ensure an adequate blood supply is available for patients all summer long. Each day, the Red Cross North Central Blood Services Region needs approximately 800 donors to step forward and give blood. Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially encouraged to give.

The annual New Richmond community two-day summer blood drive will be held July 22-23.

Hours on Monday, July 22, are from 1 to 7 p.m. and on Tuesday, July 23, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, 1019 So. Knowles Ave. in New Richmond.

To become a donor, simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit to make an appointment or for more information.

All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver's license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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