St. John’s woman says without blood donors, she likely wouldn’t be here today
Jill Snow was 27 when she nearly died. If it wasn’t for a good friend and nearly 1,000 plasma donors, she likely would have.
© Courtesy of Jana Photography
Jill, Ella and Michael Snow. Jill Snow’s life was saved thanks to blood donors, and she and Michael Snow now share their story and encourages people to give blood.
Then Jill Burton, she is from St. John’s but was living in Halifax in 2006 when she began showing signs of what seemed like the flu. She visited a doctor who told her it was likely a viral infection and that she should get lots of rest and fluids.
When her symptoms didn’t improve, she went to a nearby clinic around midnight. After sitting in the waiting room for about four hours, she was finally able to see a doctor.
“I was doubled over in pain and finding it hard to breathe,” she recalled.
The doctor told her it seemed like she had broken a rib. She was given painkillers and sent home to rest.
That weekend, her friend Michael Snow dropped by to see if she wanted to go out with a group of friends. She declined, saying the painkillers were making her tired.
He later came back to check on her to make sure she was all right, entering her apartment using a key she had given him.
“He let himself in and found me on the couch,” she said.
“I was blue. My fingers were blue, my lips were blue, my toes were blue.”
He called an ambulance and went with her to the hospital where doctors asked if she had any family. He went to call her parents, neither of whom lived in Nova Scotia. By the time he returned, the doctors had already lost and revived Burton three times.
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“My heart stopped,” she said. “There were nurses and doctors everywhere. It was total chaos. They didn’t know what was happening.”
She was put on life support for two weeks. She required plasma from almost 1,000 donors and two blood transfusions. Her lung was infected from previously undetected double pneumonia.
Today, she and Michael are married and have a three-year-old daughter and live in St. John’s. She says without blood donors, she wouldn’t be here today.
“They gave me the ability to have a life,” she said.
The Snows share their story through Canadian Blood Services’ Partners for Life program to encourage people to donate blood.
“Overall, it’s a very positive experience,” Michael Snow said.
“You get to tell your story and then thank the people that donate. … Some of those people may have been the donors that helped save Jill’s life.”
The Telegram is encouraging readers to donate blood this week as part of its annual The Telegram Saves Lives blood drive campaign. The blood drive runs from Oct. 21-25. Visit thetelegram.com for a special section with more stories and videos.