SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Marine Jacob Hess, killed in Afghanistan on New Year's Day, was a frequent blood and platelet donor and by being on the bone marrow registry Hess saved a stranger's life.
And now you can too.
There's simply no better gift to give than the gift of life. That's something that Hess believed in and practiced in a number of ways. He was no stranger at the Inland Northwest Blood Center where he started donating here as soon as they would let him.
"Jacob started giving whole blood when he was 16 years old and that was a passion that he had," Elizabeth Giles said.
That passion saved a life. Crystal Osha of Orlando, Florida had stage four leukemia and was given just a 10-percent chance of survival. Doctors said a bone marrow transplant was the only way she'd live. As it turns out Osha's perfect match was Jacob Hess. In 2012 she was given Hess' bone marrow. She's now cancer free and grateful to have a second chance at life thanks to Hess' selflessness.
"He's a part of me, he'll always be a part of me, and I will always cherish that gift for the rest of my life," Osha said.
"He gave the most precious gift of life between giving whole blood giving platelets and even donating his bone marrow and so today we are hoping to continue on his legacy," Giles said.
Giles added blood is always needed.
"Everyday the Inland Northwest blood center needs 200 donors to walk through that door, roll up their sleeve and give the gift of life," Giles said.
If you haven't donated before, don't sweat it, it will be easier than you think. It starts with answering a few easy questions about your health.
"After your health history questions you're going to have a little mini-physical, checking you're iron levels, your blood pressure and your temperature and then for whole blood you're looking at less than 15 minutes in the chair giving blood," Giles explained.
After that it's a quick pit stop in the canteen area for a snack and you're done, an easy way to give back in the name of someone who gave everything.
"We're able to honor him but also make sure the patients have the blood when they need," Giles said.
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