Blood Donor's Life Saved By Blood Donations
By Chris Overman
For over 50 years, come rain, shine, sleet or harvest, Steve Harms has been there to give when the bloodmobile arrives in Thayer County. Harms and his family have always been strong advocates of blood donation. In fact, since his first blood donation in the 1970’s, Harms has donated over 26 gallons of his blood.
In January of this year, Harms became a blood recipient following knee replacement surgery. One of the routine medications prescribed for pain and inflammation unexpectedly caused a previously undiagnosed ulcer in Harms' stomach to bleed. In less than 30 minutes, he lost approximately one-third of the blood in his body. After arriving at the local emergency room, the on-call doctor immediately transported Harms to a larger facility due to his significant blood loss.
Harms received two of the available three units of blood at his local emergency room before being flown by helicopter to an Omaha hospital. There, Harms received one more unit of blood while surgeons checked for the source of the bleeding. He was told he could easily use two more units, but his body would have to make up the difference.
Fortunately, Harms made a full recovery and is back to working as a machinist, enjoying his family and friends and making his regularly scheduled trips to the bloodmobile in Thayer County. Harms shares that he and other regular Red Cross blood donors receive pins for each gallon of blood donated. Harms is currently focused on getting the prestigious 30-gallon pin. Harms jokes that his sister in-law tells him that he should give back one of his 26 pins to make up for the blood he recently received.
“I began donating blood because my parents did it," Harms says. “My commitment to giving is now unbreakable based on what I saw in the military, my experiences donating over the years and by my recent experience as a recipient. To those thinking about donating, I say do not be afraid to take that first step. It’s not too difficult, it’s not too painful and the life you save may be your own or that of a loved one."
Please consider taking the next step toward making blood donation a priority in your life. Giving of yourself in this way keeps on giving in the lives of those needing blood and their families. To learn more, visit redcrossblood.org.