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Giving Life

Blood drive to benefit Ironton man, others


Five years ago, Tom Brose had some lab work done at his doctor’s office, and it showed lowering levels of hemoglobin.

The physicians didn’t immediately know the cause, but after trips to Columbus, Cleveland and Lexington, Ky., it was determined through a process of elimination he had Myelodysplastic Syndrome, or MLS, a form of leukemia.

“You’re talking about a man who always worked two jobs and never stopped,” said Carla Marshall, Brose’s daughter. “We call him the Energizer bunny. He kept going and going and never stopped. Now it’s not quite the same.”

“I feel tired most of the time,” Brose said. “My body doesn’t have the ability to manufacture red blood cells.”

As of this week, Brose said he has received 80 units of blood this year alone.

Marshall said her father, a good, Christian businessperson, began needing a blood transfusion about every three months.

“About a year ago, he completely retired,” she said.

“There isn’t a cure for it,” Marshall said. She added that Brose, now 74, receives chemotherapy, and has been to a hospital in Texas to see if any treatment options are available there.

“It gradually has become where he gets blood once a week now,” Marshall said.

MLS leaves Brose weak, and he said it has impacted his life immensely.

“You really never plan for anything because you don’t know how you are going to feel,” he said. “You live from a day to day basis.”

“Right before he gets blood, he knows he needs to go. He has no energy,” Marshall said. “I call it ‘going to get gassed up.’” She added that if Brose knows he will be golfing or going on a trip, he makes sure to get a transfusion beforehand.

“We are taking one day at a time,” Marshall said.

No matter how difficult this disease has been for Brose, he keeps a positive attitude.

“I am really blessed,” Brose said. “I’m not going to complain about it.”

After considering the large amount of blood Brose has had to receive, and how great the need for blood donors is, Brose’s family put on their thinking caps, and decided to host a blood drive.

“This is something we thought we could do to help the community,” Marshall said.

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., at Sharon Baptist Church in Ironton, the Red Cross will collect blood to help those who need it. Refreshments are provided.

And one local business is pitching in to help as well.

“Rax Roast Beef here in Ironton is donating food for the blood drive and is giving a $5 gift certificate to everyone who donates,” Marshall said. “My dad has been a faithful customer at Rax for years. Owner Rich Donohue is just giving a little back.”

Marshall said appointments are recommended to ensure adequate staffing, and can be scheduled by calling either (740) 533-3404 or (606) 483-1581.

Karen Kelley, communications director for the American Red Cross, said blood donors are needed especially during this time of year, as people are often busy during the holidays and forget to donate.

“The need for blood doesn’t take a holiday,” Kelley said. “Blood donation is very important. The need for blood is constant. The only way people in hospitals or in outpatient care get blood is through the compassion of a blood donor.”

Kelley said the process of giving blood is very safe, both for the person donating blood and the person receiving it. Donors must be 17 years old or older, or 16 with a parent’s permission, and the donor must weigh at least 100 pounds and be in generally good health.

“It takes about an hour from walking in to enjoying the cookies in the refreshment area,” Kelley said. “The actual time to donate is between 7 and 10 minutes. An hour of your time could be a lifetime to someone.”

Kelley said with Thanksgiving almost here, it’s good to remember that someone will be very thankful to you for sharing the gift of life. She also added that if time of the event conflicts with other schedules, it is easy to find another time and place to give blood, just by calling 1 (800) Red-Cross, or by visiting the website www.redcrossblood.org.

Kelley said her position with the Red Cross allows her to be in the tri-state area often, and she is thankful for the citizens here.

“The people are so generous and community oriented,” Kelley said. “I know we have a lot of dedicated blood donors and I want to say thank you.”

Marshall hopes the community will keep up the good work.

“I want this to be one of the biggest blood drives Ironton has ever seen,” Marshall said. “I would love to see 60 people or more to come out and give blood.”

“A lot of my friends ask what they can do to help,” Brose said. “This would be one of the best ways — to donate blood.”