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TELEGRAM SAVES LIVES: I wouldn’t be here without blood transfusions

Jennifer Mitchell is thankful for the blood transfusions she received during her cancer treatment. —
Jennifer Mitchell is thankful for the blood transfusions she received during her cancer treatment. — Contributed

Editor’s note: The annual Telegram Saves Lives campaign runs until Oct. 26. As part of our efforts to encourage people to give blood, we’re running a series of letters from people whose lives were changed by blood donation. Jennifer Mitchell of Corner Brook submitted this one.

In February 2016, at the age of 40, I started having a lot of pain in my hip area. After weeks of coping with the pain, I decided to seek medical attention. After several tests and bone marrow biopsies, I was diagnosed with a blood cancer known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

As with any type of cancer diagnosis, I was in complete shock and my first thought was, am I going to die? The doctors were very reassuring that this type of cancer was considered curable, but I was in for the fight of my life. They told me I would need four rounds of chemotherapy that would last four to six months, and I would need to stay in St. John’s for the entire treatment period (which actually turned into seven and a half months).

The chemotherapy I received was very harsh and destroyed the cancer cells, along with all of my healthy blood cells. It also affected my ability to make new blood cells, and often times I would end up with infections and my blood levels and platelets would bottom out. I would become very weak and lethargic and unable to continue with chemotherapy.

In order to have any quality of life, and to continue with my chemotherapy, it was recommended that I receive blood and platelets. At first, I was a little uncomfortable getting blood transfusions, but once the doctors explained the possible risks and benefits of receiving blood transfusions, I decided to try it. The blood transfusions gave me more energy, made me feel stronger and less ill.

It gave me back my life. It allowed me to get up out of bed, be discharged from the hospital, and spend time with my family. It gave me the ability to continue the battle with cancer and win. I am very appreciative and thankful to the donors. Because they took the time of their busy lives to donate blood, I am here today.


Willing to donate? Here’s how

• Where:

Telegram Saves Lives donor centre

Canadian Blood Services

7 Wicklow St.

St. John’s

• When:

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 3-7 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 23, 3-7 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

You can also book a spot at www.blood.ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE

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