Lauren L. • Boulder, CO

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I am thankful to blood donors because...

I've kept a personal journal for more than 35 years now. My first - filled with loopy handwriting and circles dotting each i - is gold and has a little lock and key to safeguard the juicy secrets of a twelve-year-old. In the winter of 2000 my journal spoke of all the goodness in my life. My husband Jeff had just sold his small technology company (months before the tech-crash). We'd begun our search to buy a home in San Francisco our first. And we were expecting our first child - a girl we'd already named Clare after the angel Clarence in my favorite movie It's a Wonderful Life. The last journal entry before my daughter's birth read: I'm getting mentally prepped for Clare's delivery which I predict will be easy. I LOVE BEING PREGNANT.

Shortly after writing that my pregnancy took a turn for the worse and landed me in the intensive care unit after an emergency c-section to save my baby's life. My liver and kidneys went into failure I had a grand mal seizure and slipped into a coma. Round-the-clock blood transfusions - more than 200 pints total - sustained me for six weeks while my body decided whether it wanted to live or die. Eventually my organs began working again my bleeding issues subsided and I left the hospital to begin what would be a multi-year recovery process. At two months old baby Clare came home from her uncle's house in Southern California where she'd been living since she was five days old. We were at last a family. Today nine-year-old Clare and I often write in our journals together at the end of the day. But instead of juicy secrets or false promises mine is now filled with gratitude not only for my little family - Jeff Clare and our three dogs but for those we consider family: the more than 200 complete strangers who took the time to roll up their sleeves to help a new mom in need. Blood donors are angels pure and simple. And they prove time and time again that it truly is a wonderful life. Thank you blood donors.

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