A diet of perseverance pays off for Brown Deer blood donor

By Tom Ruse, American Red Cross

Susan Blaske from Brown Deer has served up plates of perseverance to become a life-saving blood donor.  

Growing up in the Philippines, Susan was inspired early in life by a friend who was a regular blood donor and encouraged others to do the same. Susan’s first attempt to donate was unsuccessful, however, due to low iron. Subsequent attempts resulted in the same rejection, one that can be common among people unable to donate blood at various times, though no less disheartening.

Fifteen years ago, Susan moved to Wisconsin where, along with numerous other significant changes to her lifestyle that such a move entails, she modified her diet. Growing up in the Philippines, Susan’s diet was primarily plant and seafood-based. Once state-side, she began to incorporate red meat. Last year, amid this dietary shift, she decided to try again to donate blood. This time – success!

Susan recalls the success: “When I realized that I started eating meat, I thought possibly that I would be able to donate blood, so last year I tried again and was accepted. I was incredibly happy. I recently donated for a second time and am hoping to donate every three months.”

No two people are the same with diet or outcomes. There are many factors that impact each individual’s hemoglobin. (Click here for tips on diet and preparation that you can take ahead of your blood appointment.)

Issues with iron at blood donations? Here are six, iron-rich foods that may make good additions to your menu before an appointment to donate:

  1. Meat such as beef, poultry, pork, lamb, liver
  2. Bread
  3. Pasta
  4. Dried fruits like raisins
  5. Eggs
  6. Tofu

As she says, it’s easy, costs nothing more than a bit of time, and makes you feel great that you’re helping people in need.

“After donating blood, I felt healthier. Maybe because I also felt really good knowing that I helped others with my donation. I feel humbled,” she said. “I am grateful for the good health that I am enjoying in my life.”

Make an appointment to donate at an upcoming drive near you at RedCrossBlood.org.

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