The North Bend Eagle


Dobrusky's experience has him rethinking blood donation

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 7/17/13

Leonard Dobrusky, 80, has never donated blood, but he has been the beneficiary of donated blood. Diagnosed in April 2011 with squamous cell skin cancer that began as a small lump in front of his left ear, Dobrusky has undergone surgery, radiation and now chemotherapy. He has received a total of six units of blood this year.

BloodLeonard Dobrusky has benefited from blood tranfusions, but he has never been a donor.

Every two weeks he has blood work drawn to see if his counts are high enough to be able to receive the chemotherapy. When they were low, he received blood transfusions four times, after which he said he felt “pretty good.”

Dobrusky was never a donor, having had a bad experience with needles when he was a young sailor. He avoided them from then on.

“I’ve been deathly afraid of needles,” Dobursky said. “If I’d known then what I know now, I’d have been giving blood 40 years ago. Whoever gave the blood I got, I thank them very much.”

Dobrusky has had his share of needles during his battle with cancer over the past two years. He now has a port for drawing blood and injecting medicine, a device that has made his encounters with needled much more comfortable. “It’s hard to believe (donated) blood is that important,” Dobrusky said. “I never gave it much thought. All those years I was scared of needles and stayed away from it. I could have helped a lot of people. A lot of people do give blood and don’t think anything of it. They don’t realize how much help it does.”

Dobrusky’s late wife, Pat, was not a donor either, but she volunteered as a nurse to work at the local drives.

Dobrusky is happy to report that his last CAT scan showed no sighs of the cancer.

The American Red Cross will be in North Bend on Thursday, July 18, conducting a blood drive at the city auditorium from noon to 6 p.m. This particular drive is one to which co-chairmen Caryn Moser and Lois Otte hope the community will make the effort to donate.

The Red Cross reports that donations were down during the month of June, as they typically are, and with July starting with a holiday, donations are down 10 percent nationwide.

The Red Cross urgently needs donations to ensure an adequate blood supply is available for patients all summer long. Each day, the Midwest Blood Services Region must collect approximately 500 blood donations to meet patient needs.

Eligible donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially encouraged to give. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

There is also an urgent need for platelet donations. Platelets – a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients - must be transfused within five days of donation, so it’s important to have a steady supply of platelets on hand.

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