“Blood saved my life” local Red Cross employee shares going from blood collector to blood recipient

By Laura McGuire, American Red Cross

Since November 2019, Brian Reignier from Green Bay has worked on the Red Cross Blood Services Team in Northwest Wisconsin. In January 2022, Reignier went from blood collector to blood recipient. 

After an emergency surgery to repair an infected knee replacement, Reignier was released from the hospital. While recovering at home, he experienced post-surgery complications and started to lose a significant amount of blood. When he returned to the hospital, his blood pressure and hemoglobin levels were extremely low putting his life in extreme danger. Reignier required an immediate blood transfusion.

“My doctor said if I would have waited another hour to go back to the hospital, that they would be speaking to family members and not me,” said Reignier. “The blood saved my life.”  

Reignier needed blood during the 2022 blood crisis. Hospital personnel had orders to provide blood, but out of an abundance of caution, and to stretch the blood supply, only two out of the three units were needed. With limited inventory, type O negative blood (the universal blood type) was the only blood available.

Reignier remembers looking at the blood bag hanging on the pole and recognizing it as one that he and his colleagues collect from donors every day and how thankful he is for those donors. 

Reignier is back collecting blood from donors and fulfilling the mission of the Red Cross. He has been associated with the Red Cross since he was 16 years old in the role of a lifeguard and first aid/CPR instructor and, most recently, occasionally volunteering with the disaster action team for home fires. “I’m very proud to be associated with an organization that has had the longevity and reputation that the Red Cross has by helping others,” said Reignier. 

During the summer months, blood and platelet donations often do not keep pace with hospital demand. that’s why the American Red Cross is teaming up WBAY-TV and Star 98 WQLH for the 36th annual Super Donor Days Blood Drive Thursday, June 30 from noon to 6 p.m. and Friday, July 1 from 6 a.m. to noon at Tundra Lodge Resort, 865 Lombardi Ave, Green Bay.

All presenting donors will receive a Red Cross recycled cotton tote bag, a $10 gift card (via email), courtesy of Suburban Propane, while supplies last. Special refreshments and picnic style food will be available.

Appointments are strongly encouraged. Walk ins will be allowed as space permits.

Schedule an appointment to donate blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). You can also find ways to make a financial donation or join us as a volunteer at RedCross.org.

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