“If you would have told me a year ago that I would need a blood transfusion, I would have said you are crazy,” said Ashley Owusu. Like many in need of lifesaving blood products Ashley Owusu, a 22-year-old college senior and top athlete on Virginia Tech’s Women’s Basketball Team, never thought she’d find herself in the ER and in need of blood to save her life.
Last spring, Ashley began to experience extreme exhaustion as a complication of mononucleosis (mono). After a series of tests, doctors learned that Ashley’s hemoglobin levels (iron) were dangerously low, and she was in need of emergency blood transfusions. In total, Ashley needed eight units of blood to help stabilize her condition and help her recover. Learn more in this video.
Now healthy and determined, Ashley and her family are sharing her frightening health battle in the hope that some good can come out of their horrible experience by encouraging more individuals—especially individuals who are Black—to give blood to ensure blood products are readily available.
While many individuals may not think they or someone they love will need a blood transfusion, the reality is that every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. does. Unlike other treatments, blood cannot be manufactured and can only come from generous blood donors.
“It literally saved my life. You know, if I hadn’t had that blood that day… I’m not sure what would have happened,” said Ashley.
This month, the American Red Cross is urging blood donors of all types, especially those with type O blood, to give the gift of life to ensure hospital shelves are stocked to help patients just like Ashley.
- Type O positive is the most transfused blood type and can be transfused to Rh-positive patients of any blood type.
- Type O negative is the universal blood type and what emergency room personnel reach for when there is no time to determine the blood type of patients in the most serious situations.
When asked what Ashley would tell someone unsure about donating blood, she said “Being able to literally save someone’s life is a cool thing to do.”
Schedule an appointment to give by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). In thanks for giving, all who come to give blood, platelets or plasma Nov. 1-22, 2022, will receive a $10 e-gift card to the merchant of their choice. All who come to give Nov. 23-27, 2022, will receive an exclusive Red Cross knit beanie, while supplies last. Those who come to give Nov. 28-Dec. 15, 2022, will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, thanks to our partners at Amazon.