Gracie Lindal was the answer to her parents’ prayers – a bright, bubbly girl who loved music and snuggling with her beloved stuffed Ducky. She was 8 years old when she was diagnosed with ITP, a platelet-destroying disease that caused a brain bleed that took her life in December 2011.
In February, my fiancé, Kathy and I visited Thailand. We toured grand palaces and Buddhist temples and floating markets around the sprawling capital of Bangkok, then traveled north to mountainous Chiang Mai where we walked with elephants and learned to make Thai food. Then the plan was to finish with beach time on the island of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. It was the kind of trip you look forward to for months. A dream vacation. And indeed, most of it was a dream. Most of it.
Every two seconds, someone in the United States requires a blood transfusion. And it is in large part thanks to the pioneering research of Dr. Charles Drew, whose revolutionary work changed the landscape of blood collection and storage and, historians say, saved the lives of millions of soldiers in WWII, that today we have blood banks in our communities to help people when they need blood to live.
“He was a giant in our industry,” said OneBlood Chief Technical Officer Dr. Mike Pratt, who also describes Drew’s research as forming the basis for what would later become cross-matching compatibility testing, which is used in blood banks all over the world today. But it is for what Dr. Charles Drew did for blood stabilization and preservation that his work’s legacy endures today.