Recipient Stories

Recipient Stories

Lucas Cannon

Lucas Cannon was just 16 when he was severely injured in a tractor accident on his family farm.

Airlifted to the hospital, Lucas, from Flemingsburg, Kentucky, underwent immediate surgery. In the weeks that followed, he required additional surgeries, receiving more than 150 blood transfusions.

His right leg could not be saved and was amputated, then came months of physical therapy.

Today, Lucas is a college graduate with a degree in organizational leadership. He’s also a blood donor.

“I donate every chance I get," he says. "I need to help replenish the stock."

Thanks to the 150 blood donors who saved Lucas’s life, he’s able to help others today.

“It’s an overwhelming selfless act," Lucas says.

 
Kentucky Blood Center
2016-07-18T21:16:32-04:00
Lucas Cannon was just 16 when he was severely injured in a tractor accident on his family farm. Airlifted to the hospital, Lucas, from Flemingsburg, Kentucky, underwent immediate surgery. In the weeks that followed, he required additional surgeries, receiving more than 150 blood transfusions. His right leg could not be saved and was amputated, then came months of physical therapy. Today, Lucas is a college graduate with a degree in organizational leadership. He’s also a blood donor. “I donate every chance I get," he says. "I need to help replenish the stock." Thanks to the 150 blood donors who saved Lucas’s life, he’s able to help others today. “It’s an overwhelming selfless act," Lucas says.  

James Tucker

Alltech employee Hillary Tucker understands why blood donation is so important. She’s seen it firsthand.

It was January 2012 when her then 10-year-old son James wasn’t feeling well.

“It was after the holidays, and he didn’t bounce back," Hillary said. "He was tired. I was thinking mono.

But she guessed wrong. A doctor’s appointment showed James had a dangerously low blood count, and by 4:30 p.m. they were at UK Hospital, where James received four units of blood.

The next morning he began chemotherapy for leukemia.

“That (diagnosis) turns your world upside down. It was horrible,” Hillary said. But, she added, they never contemplated anything less than a 100% cure. “That’s what we expected. We weren’t going to be beat.”

During his treatments, James had more than 30 transfusions, most of them in the first 12 to 15 months. Those 30 transfusions came from 30 anonymous people who generously gave blood with Kentucky Blood Center.

“When he received transfusions, he immediately felt better,” Hillary said. “We were so fortunate that we had that resource available to him. Thank you to everyone who donates. When it’s your baby lying in that bed, it makes all the difference in their lives.
Kentucky Blood Center
2017-09-15T10:30:16-04:00
Alltech employee Hillary Tucker understands why blood donation is so important. She’s seen it firsthand. It was January 2012 when her then 10-year-old son James wasn’t feeling well. “It was after the holidays, and he didn’t bounce back," Hillary said. "He was tired. I was thinking mono. But she guessed wrong. A doctor’s appointment showed James had a dangerously low blood count, and by 4:30 p.m. they were at UK Hospital, where James received four units of blood. The next morning he began chemotherapy for leukemia. “That (diagnosis) turns your world upside down. It was horrible,” Hillary said. But, she added, they never contemplated anything less than a 100% cure. “That’s what we expected. We weren’t going to be beat.” During his treatments, James had more than 30 transfusions, most of them in the first 12 to 15 months. Those 30 transfusions came from 30 anonymous people who generously gave blood with Kentucky Blood Center. “When he received transfusions, he immediately felt better,” Hillary said. “We were so fortunate that we had that resource available to him. Thank you to everyone who donates. When it’s your baby lying in that bed, it makes all the difference in their lives.

Tanner Welch

Tanner Welch was only 7 when he was diagnosed with brain cancer.

“He began having symptoms in February," said his mom, Ann Welch, a sergeant with the Lexington Police Department. "He was diagnosed in May and within days had two surgeries."

After the tumor was removed, Tanner underwent radiation and chemotherapy. Those treatments made him ill and weak. He needed blood transfusions to strengthen his little body. His first one was four weeks into radiation.

“When he got the transfusions, it was the most amazing thing," said Ann, who began recruiting friends and family to donate blood for Tanner. "He’d be so lethargic a,nd within 20 minutes, his color got better. He’d brighten up. It made me feel bad that we were using it all up. We needed to do our part.”

Ann's request was answered immediately by family friend Kim McClure. She became Tanner’s best donor.

“Kim knew us and loved us enough to do it,” Ann said.

Tanner believed he felt better when he received Kim’s platelets.

“When we’d see the yellow tag on the bag, (designating the platelets were designated specifically for Tanner), we’d take a picture of it and send it to Kim with a note that said, ‘He’s getting your super-duper platelets,’” Ann said.

Ann watched her son get regular transfusions.

“I guess I never thought about the continued need. You hear surgery and accidents, but you don’t realize the continued need for cancer patients," Ann said. "The treatment for cancer is important, sticking to the protocol outline. If you can’t do the treatment when you are supposed to, it could delay the outcomes. Tanner needed a transfusion to build him up enough to take the cancer treatment."
Kentucky Blood Center
2016-07-08T18:03:01-04:00
Tanner Welch was only 7 when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. “He began having symptoms in February," said his mom, Ann Welch, a sergeant with the Lexington Police Department. "He was diagnosed in May and within days had two surgeries." After the tumor was removed, Tanner underwent radiation and chemotherapy. Those treatments made him ill and weak. He needed blood transfusions to strengthen his little body. His first one was four weeks into radiation. “When he got the transfusions, it was the most amazing thing," said Ann, who began recruiting friends and family to donate blood for Tanner. "He’d be so lethargic a,nd within 20 minutes, his color got better. He’d brighten up. It made me feel bad that we were using it all up. We needed to do our part.” Ann's request was answered immediately by family friend Kim McClure. She became Tanner’s best donor. “Kim knew us and loved us enough to do it,” Ann said. Tanner believed he felt better when he received Kim’s platelets. “When we’d see the yellow tag on the bag, (designating the platelets were designated specifically for Tanner), we’d take a picture of it and send it to Kim with a note that said, ‘He’s getting your super-duper platelets,’” Ann said. Ann watched her son get regular transfusions. “I guess I never thought about the continued need. You hear surgery and accidents, but you don’t realize the continued need for cancer patients," Ann said. "The treatment for cancer is important, sticking to the protocol outline. If you can’t do the treatment when you are supposed to, it could delay the outcomes. Tanner needed a transfusion to build him up enough to take the cancer treatment."

Karen McCracken



Giving blood not only saves lives, it sustains it.

Karen McCracken is living proof. Diagnosed with Von Willebrand disease, a lifelong bleeding disorder in which blood doesn’t clot properly, Karen requires a transfusion before undergoing any medical procedure.

Even the most minor routine check-ups.

“Anytime I have to have something done now, if I have to have my teeth cleaned or dental work or any surgery, I have to go to the infusion center first to prepare my body to have anything like that,” Karen says. “I have my check-ups regularly to I get my hemoglobin checked and all of my other levels, but if anything is off or I’m feeling poorly or I’m bleeding, I have to go to the infusion center.”

Karen, from Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, has always experienced bleeding issues. She bruises easily and is often anemic. Doctors tested her for leukemia several times as a child.

Karen’s fears that something wasn’t right came to a head in 2001 when her tonsils were removed at 32 years old. A few days later she started bleeding in the back of her throat when a blood vessel burst.

For most people, it would result in nothing more than minor bleeding for 15-20 minutes until their blood clotted. Karen, however, lost more than half her blood supply over three and a half hours and was rushed to the hospital. She recovered, but not before suffering a stroke in her left temporal lobe from a lack of oxygen to her brain.

Karen was eventually diagnosed with Von Willebrand disease. Whatever relief she found in knowing her suspicions were right were now overcome with the consistent reliance on blood being available.

“Some people think they give blood for emergencies and tragedies – which we do need – but there are also people who need it just to live every day,” Karen says.

She is one of them. Karen intermittently needs transfusions depending on her hemoglobin level, but for someone who routinely undergoes surgeries and procedures for another undisclosed disorder, a healthy bloody supply is critical to living a normal life.

And during the pandemic, when the blood supply has dwindled, Karen can only receive transfusions on an emergency basis.

“It’s scary,” Karen says. “If I didn’t (have transfusions), what would happen is if I did bleed or I had a car accident or – God forbid – my appendix burst, I would probably die. I would just bleed out.”

Kentucky Blood Center
2022-04-25T16:49:58-04:00
Giving blood not only saves lives, it sustains it. Karen McCracken is living proof. Diagnosed with Von Willebrand disease, a lifelong bleeding disorder in which blood doesn’t clot properly, Karen requires a transfusion before undergoing any medical procedure. Even the most minor routine check-ups. “Anytime I have to have something done now, if I have to have my teeth cleaned or dental work or any surgery, I have to go to the infusion center first to prepare my body to have anything like that,” Karen says. “I have my check-ups regularly to I get my hemoglobin checked and all of my other levels, but if anything is off or I’m feeling poorly or I’m bleeding, I have to go to the infusion center.” Karen, from Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, has always experienced bleeding issues. She bruises easily and is often anemic. Doctors tested her for leukemia several times as a child. Karen’s fears that something wasn’t right came to a head in 2001 when her tonsils were removed at 32 years old. A few days later she started bleeding in the back of her throat when a blood vessel burst. For most people, it would result in nothing more than minor bleeding for 15-20 minutes until their blood clotted. Karen, however, lost more than half her blood supply over three and a half hours and was rushed to the hospital. She recovered, but not before suffering a stroke in her left temporal lobe from a lack of oxygen to her brain. Karen was eventually diagnosed with Von Willebrand disease. Whatever relief she found in knowing her suspicions were right were now overcome with the consistent reliance on blood being available. “Some people think they give blood for emergencies and tragedies – which we do need – but there are also people who...

Knox Shepherd



The weight of devastation when one learns their toddler has a brain tumor can be like an anchor, first dropping from your heart into your stomach, down through your legs and eventually engulfing your feet. It can be paralyzing.

But for Ashley and Erikk Shepherd, they had little time to think or grieve when they learned their 3-year-old son, Knox, had a large mass on his brain and needed emergency surgery. Since then, they’ve acted with unrelenting speed to save and take care of their oldest child and done so with compassion and grace.

First, it was emergency surgery just a day after Thanksgiving 2021when Knox vomited and complained of pain and pressure in his head. Then, it was quickly relocating the family to Memphis, Tennessee, so Knox could be treated at St. Jude Hospital with 30 rounds of proton radiation and then chemotherapy in hopes of fully ridding his head of an anaplastic ependymoma, a rare tumor that forms when cells in the central nervous system begin to multiply rapidly.

And now, even with Knox still battling cancer and just barely a half-year removed from his diagnosis, it’s quickly organizing a blood drive to give back. Knox has needed two blood transfusions so far to recover from the grueling chemotherapy treatments and could need more. The Shepherds feel that encouraging others to donate blood is the least they can do to give back for all the help and support they have received.

“We just want to help in whatever capacity we can,” Ashley said. “We want to pay it forward for someone else.”

In mid-May, less than two weeks after the Shepherds returned home to Louisville, Kentucky Blood Center teamed up with the Shepherd to host in-center blood drives in Knox’s honor. Although few could imagine being in the shoes of the Shepherds, it was the Shepherds putting themselves in someone else’s shoes that motivated them to organize the blood drive.

Knox’s blood type is AB+, which means he can receive blood from donors of any type). Ashley started to think about if the role was reversed. What if Knox could only receive blood from a small blood group, Ashley thought?

“Everyone is asking what they can do to help, I just kept thinking if he couldn’t receive any type of blood, what I would do,” Ashley said. “I just want to encourage more people to donate.”

While his parents love on him and find ways to thank others for their unwavering support, Knox has fought cancer like the superheroes he admires, often dressing up as one of them (Spider-Man is his favorite) as he fights the disease.

When he’s not at the doctor undergoing tests or treatments or taking naps to recover, Knox is with his baby brother, Sterling, playing on the floor.

“He’s been a trooper through all of it,” Ashley said. “He’s kicking butt.”

Kentucky Blood Center
2022-05-17T15:52:22-04:00
The weight of devastation when one learns their toddler has a brain tumor can be like an anchor, first dropping from your heart into your stomach, down through your legs and eventually engulfing your feet. It can be paralyzing. But for Ashley and Erikk Shepherd, they had little time to think or grieve when they learned their 3-year-old son, Knox, had a large mass on his brain and needed emergency surgery. Since then, they’ve acted with unrelenting speed to save and take care of their oldest child and done so with compassion and grace. First, it was emergency surgery just a day after Thanksgiving 2021when Knox vomited and complained of pain and pressure in his head. Then, it was quickly relocating the family to Memphis, Tennessee, so Knox could be treated at St. Jude Hospital with 30 rounds of proton radiation and then chemotherapy in hopes of fully ridding his head of an anaplastic ependymoma, a rare tumor that forms when cells in the central nervous system begin to multiply rapidly. And now, even with Knox still battling cancer and just barely a half-year removed from his diagnosis, it’s quickly organizing a blood drive to give back. Knox has needed two blood transfusions so far to recover from the grueling chemotherapy treatments and could need more. The Shepherds feel that encouraging others to donate blood is the least they can do to give back for all the help and support they have received. “We just want to help in whatever capacity we can,” Ashley said. “We want to pay it forward for someone else.” In mid-May, less than two weeks after the Shepherds returned home to Louisville, Kentucky Blood Center teamed up with the Shepherd to host in-center blood drives in Knox’s honor. Although few could imagine being in the...

Gracey Wuest



Gracey Wuest has a rare autoimmune disease called juvenile dermatomyositis, a condition in which the immune system turns on to fight viruses but doesn't turn back off, causing it to attack healthy cells and tissue.

Every four weeks, Gracey receives a dose of medicine to help manage this disease. Making the treatment, however, requires more than 1,000 blood donors.

To help Gracey and other children who have this disease, the Wuest family organizes Gracey Fest, a fun event in Mt. Washington, Kentucky, that raises money and awareness in support of the Cure JM Foundation.

In addition to supporting this cause, the Wuests encourage Kentuckians to donate blood regularly so that it's always available for children who need it for their treatments.

Gracey has a simple but important message for blood donors: "Thank you for donating blood. Your donations help make my medicine so I can stay alive."

Kentucky Blood Center
2017-04-24T15:06:52-04:00
Gracey Wuest has a rare autoimmune disease called juvenile dermatomyositis, a condition in which the immune system turns on to fight viruses but doesn't turn back off, causing it to attack healthy cells and tissue. Every four weeks, Gracey receives a dose of medicine to help manage this disease. Making the treatment, however, requires more than 1,000 blood donors. To help Gracey and other children who have this disease, the Wuest family organizes Gracey Fest, a fun event in Mt. Washington, Kentucky, that raises money and awareness in support of the Cure JM Foundation. In addition to supporting this cause, the Wuests encourage Kentuckians to donate blood regularly so that it's always available for children who need it for their treatments. Gracey has a simple but important message for blood donors: "Thank you for donating blood. Your donations help make my medicine so I can stay alive." [video width="1280" height="720" mp4="https://kybloodcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Gracey-Recipient.mp4"][/video]

Susan Hatchett



Susan Hatchett’s hemoglobin levels will likely never be normal again. Typically operating anywhere from levels six or seven (the average for a woman is 12 to 15), Susan, from Springfield, Kentucky, feels an injection of new life every time she receives a blood transfusion, not all that unsimilar to Popeye eating a can of spinach.

“I start feeling like I can move the world,” Susan say of the life-preserving transfusions she receives every three to four weeks due to autoimmune myelofibrosis, an uncommon etiology of bone marrow fibrosis that has essentially stopped all production red blood cells in her body. “My body has adapted so much that when I’m (at) an 8.5 (hemoglobin level), I feel like I can conquer the world.”

Susan’s journey with myelofibrosis began in 2019 after severe bouts of fatigue and shortness of breath. On Memorial Day weekend of that year, Susan became so anemic that she was rushed to the hospital with a hemoglobin level of three. Having already received three initial units of blood earlier that month, 10 units were transfused to Susan this time. Shortly thereafter she was diagnosed with myelofibrosis for which there is only one cure: a stem cell transplant.

For now, Susan’s reality is regular blood transfusions to provide treatment. Further complicating matters, Susan’s body has developed antibodies and her blood must be crossmatched before transfusion.

Thanks to blood donors, Susan has never had to deal with the additional anxiety of wondering if blood will be on the shelves to save her life.

“Kentucky Blood Center has never failed to get my blood,” she said. “They’ve always had it there for me. I thank God for the KBC and the person who gave the blood every time I get it. I pray for that person because I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for their generosity.”

Susan is currently in talks with her doctors to explore a stem cell transplant. In the meantime, she is thankful she can count on blood donors to see her three grandchildren grow up.

“My goal is to see my grandbabies grow up,” Susan said. “Whenever I come home from a transfusion, I thank God for that donor. If it wasn’t for that donor going to donate, I wouldn’t be here. That’s why donating means so much to me. It’s my life.”

Kentucky Blood Center
2022-05-23T12:40:19-04:00
Susan Hatchett’s hemoglobin levels will likely never be normal again. Typically operating anywhere from levels six or seven (the average for a woman is 12 to 15), Susan, from Springfield, Kentucky, feels an injection of new life every time she receives a blood transfusion, not all that unsimilar to Popeye eating a can of spinach. “I start feeling like I can move the world,” Susan say of the life-preserving transfusions she receives every three to four weeks due to autoimmune myelofibrosis, an uncommon etiology of bone marrow fibrosis that has essentially stopped all production red blood cells in her body. “My body has adapted so much that when I’m (at) an 8.5 (hemoglobin level), I feel like I can conquer the world.” Susan’s journey with myelofibrosis began in 2019 after severe bouts of fatigue and shortness of breath. On Memorial Day weekend of that year, Susan became so anemic that she was rushed to the hospital with a hemoglobin level of three. Having already received three initial units of blood earlier that month, 10 units were transfused to Susan this time. Shortly thereafter she was diagnosed with myelofibrosis for which there is only one cure: a stem cell transplant. For now, Susan’s reality is regular blood transfusions to provide treatment. Further complicating matters, Susan’s body has developed antibodies and her blood must be crossmatched before transfusion. Thanks to blood donors, Susan has never had to deal with the additional anxiety of wondering if blood will be on the shelves to save her life. “Kentucky Blood Center has never failed to get my blood,” she said. “They’ve always had it there for me. I thank God for the KBC and the person who gave the blood every time I get it. I pray for that person because I wouldn’t be alive...
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Kentucky Blood Center
KENTUCKY BLOOD CENTER