Red Cross blood drive held in memory of Betty “Bingo” McMillin

By Laura McGuire, American Red Cross

The community is invited to give blood in memory of Betty “Bingo” McMillin at a special American Red Cross blood drive Saturday, May 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at De Forest Public Library, 203 Library St. 

Betty was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a cancer in which immature blood cells located in the bone marrow fail to mature into healthy blood cells. In addition, Betty developed hemolytic anemia, a blood disorder in which red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be made.

Betty “Bingo” McMillin

Individually these conditions require a patient to receive a significant amount of blood products. Having these two conditions simultaneously required Betty to receive weekly blood transfusions. Thanks to generous blood donors, blood was available to help Betty maintain her life and allowed her to spend an extra year with her family. Betty passed away March 2020.  

“Due to a blood shortage, there were many times when my mom would wait hours for her blood to be delivered,” said, Jamie McMillin, Betty’s daughter. Because her mother’s hemoglobin levels were low, Betty lacked energy and felt horrible. “I knew she was suffering, and she never complained. She was just happy to get the blood because she knew the next day, she would be able to walk again, be with her friends and be at home with her dog, Teddy.”

“I want to honor my mother by having this blood drive,” said McMillin. “I would like to see the entire community come together to support others in need by giving blood. I think we need to make high school students aware that they are able to help, especially young donors that may have not donated before, with great hopes that they continue to donate blood throughout their lives.” 

This blood drive is being sponsored by the Sun Prairie Storm swim team and it is anticipated to collect 44 lifesaving donations to help patients in need.

Donated blood may be used to help accident victims, surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. There is no substitute for donated blood products.

Every day, the Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood donations to meet the needs of hospital patients across the country. Blood donors of all types are needed. Those with types O, A negative and B negative blood are encouraged to make a Power Red donation at this blood drive. Power Red donors give a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a single donation, allowing them to maximize their impact. Make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org.

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