Kids can make any mother tired, but 28-year-old Danielle May realized that this was something different. Her pregnancy and the eventual birth of her son Hunter was different than her daughter Bella two years earlier.
No doubt about it, Danielle felt fatigued “I thought that it was just because I had two kids,” the Bella Vista, Ark. resident says. “I also had a continuing bleeding problem. I just knew that something wasn’t right.”
Danielle went to a clinic, had a biopsy and a few days later heard some news that would turn her life on end. “The results said squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer of the cervix. I couldn’t believe it.”
All I could think about was my babies not having a mom and a husband that would have to do it (raise the kids) himself,” May continues. “I decided that I was gonna beat this and from that point on, I didn’t dwell on the worst.”
In the next six weeks, Danielle would undergo a radical hysterectomy. She received twenty-eight radiation treatments. And when her iron levels got too low, she received blood provided by CBCO donors. “It took a long time to get those units into me,” she recalls. “The next morning when I woke up I felt so much energy. I felt like me again. I could play with my kids. I could stay awake. Until that time, I never really knew how sick and tired I really was. The difference was just like night and day.”
During the transfusions, Danielle had plenty of time to think about whose blood it was that was entering her body. It wasn’t until she saw a CBCO blood drive coming to her workplace at Northwest Arkansas Community College that she was able to resolve her riddle. “I saw a poster that said that CBCO provided all of the blood for area patients and I said ‘Wait! That’s MY blood.’ I decided that I would try to become a volunteer. I tell people in my office to donate. I’d do anything to help.”
When she goes out, Danielle wonders if the person she’s standing next to could be one of her donors. “I think it could be anybody, especially when they tell me that they donate blood. If I could meet my donors, I would want them to be part of my life for the rest of my life. Because what they did was huge. Just saying thank you isn’t enough.”
One year later, Danielle is cancer free. She’ll have to watch things closely and have regular checkups. But thanks in part to donors to Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, she’s free to be a mother. A wife. A cancer survivor. And an advocate for blood donation. “Transfusions made me feel like me again. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”