Spokane couple organizers blood drive after lifesaving transfusion

A Spokane mother who lost pints and pints of blood during a complicated birth two months ago is using her experience to inspire others to donate blood.

It’s been eight weeks since Brent and Stephanie Johnson brought their daughter Ellie home from the hospital.

“I had heard her cry twice and the doctor said, ‘Happy birthday, Ellie. It’s your birthday,’ and I remember looking at my husband and then I didn’t remember anything after that,” Stephanie Johnson said. “I woke up and it was four hours later.”

She later found out that during those four hours she underwent a blood transfusion. Stephanie Johnson said she needed six units of blood, including two liters of plasma.

“Without the blood that they gave us, Ellie wouldn’t have had a mom and Brent wouldn’t have had a wife,” Stephanie Johnson said.

Blood donations, like the ones that saved this new mom’s life, happen less frequently during summer, according to Inland Northwest Blood Center (INBC) Marketing and Communications Specialist Tesia Hummer.

“When the weather is nicer, people want to be outside. They want to go have fun…We might not be top of mind,” Hummer said.

Fewer donations impact patients at the more than 35 hospitals across the region that Hummer said rely on INBC.

“Because people, like Stephanie, you know, they needed that blood to survive and therefore, you know, it is vital that we ensure a safe blood supply regardless of what time of year it is,” Hummer said.

That’s why the Johnson family is working with INBC to save lives and raise awareness about donating through their own blood drive this summer.

Brent Johnson said he’s given blood before, but only now realizes the full impact of the act.

“Until you really receive it, then it really hits home, like this is important, you know. We just want to say thank you to the people who do donate and ask people to continue because it’s important and there is a constant need,” Brent Johnson said.

People can donate blood at Spokane area INBC locations August 6-10, in honor of Stephanie Johnson. She said she already had friends and coworkers donate after her daughter’s birth, but wants to inspire more people.

“I realize through this whole process the value of it and if I could save someone’s life, I could, you know, I could get over a needle poke and a couple of minutes of my time,” Stephanie Johnson said. “You can be a hero just by giving blood. You can save a life.”

You can schedule an appointment to donate blood here.