Eric and Sarah GordonNewborns’ Premature Birth Results In Need For Blood, Convinces Mother To Become Regular Donor

Eric and Sarah Gordon’s life went topsy-turvy on Sept. 12 when their twin boys were born nine weeks early at Holston Valley Medical Center and needed to be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit.

As the boys, Matthew and John, worked through the challenges typically associated with a stay in that unit, mom and dad learned their sons had become anemic. Mrs. Gordon said the newborns’ blood levels had dropped due to their prematurity, causing their oxygen levels and heart rates to fall.

To remedy Matthew and John’s condition, physicians ordered blood transfusions. The blood was supplied by Marsh Regional Blood Center.

The boys quickly improved and eventually were able to go home to Rogersville and join their sisters. But weeks later, the experience of watching her sons need a blood transfusion has had a profound effect on Mrs. Gordon.

“I never fully realized the importance of donating blood until this happened with my boys,” she said. “I went a week ago to a blood drive at my daughter’s school so I could give, but my iron was still too low because of the emergency C-section, so it had to be postponed.

“But as soon as I am able to donate blood, I will be giving.”

Mrs. Gordon said John, who spent 43 days in the NICU, received two transfusions about 12 hours apart. Matthew, who spent 39 days in the unit, only needed one transfusion. She said the amount her sons received was small – it would fit into a syringe – but was still essential to keep her boys alive.

“You hear about blood drives all the time, but I didn’t think a lot about it,” Mrs. Gordon said. “Now, I want to give as much as possible because you never know how much it will help someone.”

If she has one wish about the whole experience, it would be to somehow meet the person who donated the blood that made a dramatic difference in the health of her sons. It would give her a chance to thank that person for giving the gift of life.

“That’s the beauty of donating blood,” said Don Campbell, Marsh Regional’s director. “By simply taking an hour of your time, a donor can save as many as three lives – even some as young as Matthew and John. During the holiday season, it’s an incredible gift to another human being that doesn’t cost a cent but has a tremendous impact.”

All blood donated to Marsh Regional stays local to help patients in this region. Marsh Regional supplies blood to 22 healthcare facilities in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Donors with O-negative blood are particularly welcome, as their blood can be used for any patient.

“During the holidays, people can become involved in a lot of social events or focus on buying gifts for their loved ones,” Campbell said. “Donating blood can slip their mind or be put on the back burner. But the need for blood does not take the month off, so we encourage people to keep this on their list of items to complete. The recipients will be glad you were there for them.”

A person can donate blood at one of Marsh’s collection centers – 102 E. Ravine Road, Kingsport; 1996 W. State St., Bristol; and 1 Professional Park Blvd., Suite 14, Johnson City, or at any of the blood drives held regularly throughout the region.

To donate blood, individuals must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. People with a cold, sore throat, fever, flu or fever blisters or who are taking antibiotics may not donate. Donors should eat a balanced meal before giving whole blood or platelets.

More information about blood donations is available by calling 423-224-5888 or visiting