Lourene Clark is the Business Manager for Washington University’s Alumni and Development, Major Gifts and Capital Projects team. Below, she shares her experience as a blood transfusion recipient.
When I stop to think about it, it is hard to believe that 38 years have passed since I found myself in desperate need of blood. I never saw it coming when I rolled out of bed after a short rest following a long night of studying during my senior year of college. Hours later I was in the hospital, having lost over half of my blood. While doctors never figured out what caused my blood loss, they did know exactly what to do. They called the blood bank in the hospital and ordered blood that was kept on hand for a patient in my situation. In a little over 48 hours I received 5 units of blood.
As a college student, when I felt I had my whole life in front of me and thought very little about my physical health, this shocking and unexpected medical crisis reminded me of the fragility of the human body and the brevity of life. And at a time when I was relishing my independence, I was faced with the reality of how dependent we are on others in our community. Doctors, nurses, and hospital staff that I didn’t know and never saw again compassionately cared for me when I was most vulnerable.
When I consider all the life I have joyfully experienced between that incident and today, I am filled with gratitude. I am especially grateful for the compassionate donors in my community who cleared out their schedule, rolled up their sleeves, and allowed their blood to be a gift of life to a total stranger.