Living Life

Harold-Haberichter-Feature-Thumb-71185_182x182As thousands of area blood donors know, it’s a great feeling to give life to someone else.  Harold Haberichter of Clever, Mo. now thinks that it’s pretty neat to get life from someone else as well.

Haberichter, 78, first donated blood back in 1955 while serving his country in Germany.  He has given over 100 donations during his lifetime.  His wife Mary has been a longtime drive coordinator (and expert cookie baker) at Hope Lutheran Church in Republic.

In 2010, Haberichter was prescribed with blood thinning medication to deal with a heart condition.  Later that month, he fell at his home, sustaining a concussion.  He experienced what doctors call a cranial hemorrhage, which occurs when a blood vessel within the skull is ruptured or leaks.  It’s a serious condition that can lead to lasting injury or even death.

Haberichter eventually needed blood, mostly plasma, to deal with the symptoms.  Over the course of six days in the hospital, he recalls that he received nearly two dozen transfusions.

Later in his recovery, Harold and Mary had the opportunity to think about their commitment to the health of others, and how it all came back to them over that frightful week.  “He really was very sick,” Mary said.  “It was ironic that I had been hosting blood drives.  He had been giving.  And now it was our turn to benefit from the gift that others had provided.”

“I just thought that I was really lucky that people choose to give, because this was a time that I really needed it,” Harold said.  “People were there for me.  I am blessed.”

Harold has fully recovered and enjoys gardening and woodworking in his spare time.  The Haberichters have four children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Haberichter has had some time to think about his lifelong donation habit and can’t wait to give again later this summer when he’s eligible again.

“I’ve never done it for the recognition,” he said. “I just feel fortunate that I can help people.  I can donate as long as I feel healthy and I plan on keeping it up.  That’s my plan.”