Joanne Aller is an Administrative Assistant for the Center of Dielectrics and Piezoelectrics at the Millennium Science Complex. She has been donating blood for many years, and it all started with the birth of her third daughter in June of 1978. Already the mother of twins, Aller’s water broke unexpectedly and she was rushed into the hospital. After three painful days of waiting, a sleep-deprived and weak, her labor finally began only to erupt with a string of potentially fatal consequences.
14 hours later, Aller was still in labor and losing blood too fast to replace it. She began hemorrhaging and there was nothing doctors could do. “At this point, I had too little blood left in me to keep my heart pumping for much longer, and they were preparing for it to stop,” Aller said. Finally, with the help of specialized technology that cross-matched her rapidly thinning blood for a transfusion, Aller received the blood that she desperately needed for her and her unborn daughter to survive. Blood donations were a personal miracle for Aller, and are the reason she is now a happy mother and grandmother today. “It is so hard to believe that my life could have gone to such opposite ends of the spectrum within a 24-hour period. I nearly died, but a few hours later I felt great and was walking around the hospital and holding my brand new daughter as long as they would let me,” Aller said. “There is no doubt that all the people who gave the blood that saved me, none of whom I will ever know, made that possible for me.”
What Aller has learned from her life-threatening experience is that this situation can unfortunately happen to anyone. Having had a very smooth process in the past with the birth of twins, the complications with her third child came unexpectedly with almost fatal consequences. Today, she reflects often on how many people’s lives would have been different or non-existent if she didn’t receive blood that day, inclyding her now many grandchildren’s live. Aller has been donating blood ever since, wanting to save the lives of others like her life was saved that day. To date, she has given 11 gallons of blood in donations. “The power to save a life is a huge, awesome thing, and very personal to me because of my own experience on the other side of it, “ Aller said. “That is why I do my part to encourage blood donation every chance I get; you never know who you will save or what they might accomplish because you gave them the chance to live.”